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

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.

 

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

 

 

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

Casino Saturation In The Northeast 2017

 

Did Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun secretly wish that the future casino saturation in the Northeast was true when Massachusetts passed the gaming law in 2011? Were there hushed discussions over Connecticut casino water coolers wishing for the repeal of gambling in Massachusetts back then?

At one point, I was beginning to believe the number of possible casinos in New England may indeed saturate the region. In case you haven’t been following, here are the number of casinos by state now in 2017 from Maryland to Maine:

  1. Maryland – Six casinos, with the addition of MGM National Harbor; began as slots only in 2008, added tables games after 2012 as revenue increased.

    MGM National Harbor

  2. Delaware – Three VLT based casinos at the three pari-mutuel racetracks operated by the Lottery.  Table games added in 2010.  Revenue number in decline. There is also one poker room in Wilmington.
  3. Pennsylvania – Twelve casinos authorized and built after 2004; Revenue decreased in 2013, but still puts plenty of pressure on surrounding states.  A 13th casino is being built in Philadelphia.
  4. New Jersey – Gambling approved in 1976. As of 2017, seven casinos are left with five closing it’s doors.
    A Busy Boardwalk, not so long ago.

    A Busy Boardwalk, not so long ago.

    Revel, now Ten, is still in casino limbo, and Showboat is a shell of itself as a Hotel only.  Recent purchase of the Taj by Hard Rock Cafe has given a little hope to the Jersey shore. Revenue consistently declined until recent stability. Rumors persist for future casinos built in northern NJ around NYC.

    Resorts World, Queens, NY.

  5. New York – The biggest growth of casino gambling in the northeast has been in the Empire State. Beginning with change of two Class II Indian Casinos to Class III after 2003, casino growth continued with presently 22 casinos, 11 of which are tribal. One additional casino will be introduced   Indian Class III casinos have the only slots, the rest in NY are VLT that act like bingo terminals. Resorts World continues to have one of east’s highest grossing revenues. One additional casino is slated to be finished by 2018 near the NE corner of PA.
  6. Connecticut – Began Class III gaming with two casinos – Two casinos – Foxwoods in 1994 & Mohegan Sun in 1996.
    Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

    Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

    Since recession of 2007, they have experienced constant revenue declines with some bounce back months. A 3rd casino venture by both Pequot and Mohegan tribes has had mixed success in their bid to compete with MGM Springfield.

    Proposed Tiverton Casino

  7. Rhode Island – Two Casinos – Twin River (with table games) and Newport Grand (slots only).  Newport will be moving operations to a new casino/hotel in Tiverton, RI.
  8. Massachusetts – Four licenses were to be handed out according to the MA gambling law of 2011. Plainridge Park casino has been in operation since 2015, MGM Springfield is scheduled to open in 2018 and Wynn Boston Harbor has completed clean-up to begin construction on its resort.  The tribal casino once scheduled for Taunton, MA. is stuck in litigation.

    Steve Wynn with his rendition of Wynn Boston Harbor

  9. New Hampshire – Once again, (almost a yearly occurrence) NH legislature has submitted a bill for two casinos in the Granite State. There are numerous successful poker rooms in NH.
  10. Maine – Two casinos opened, Hollywood in 2005 and Oxford in 2012.  Both will have hotels by the summer of 2017. There is one class II Indian Casino and a second push for a third casino in York county.

So, the math is a little weird with all the closings, possibilities, votes, etc.  The count seems to be over 50, + or – …………….well, we’ll just wait and see.

Back in 2014, Scott Calvert and Jon Kamp wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “Twenty-six casinos have opened since 2004, fueling a 39% increase in total annual gambling revenue in the mid-Atlantic and New England……Within 100 miles of Philadelphia, there now are 24 casinos, a big shift from the early 1990s, when Atlantic City, N.J., enjoyed an East Coast monopoly.”

Since that report, gaming continues to become a large part of the northeast landscape.  The original question posed in 2014 was, “Is there saturation in the northeast?  If it wasn’t then, it sure is beginning to look like it now, as states see gambling as a quick fix for state budget problems.

What do you think? Are there too many casinos in the northeast?  Email us, or send us a tweet at netimegambling,com

That’s all for now.

Binbin

 

A Gambling Podcast For The Northeast

sclfeeadI found a podcast that I enjoyed from the first episode I listened to.  As the picture above shows, it is called

“Due For A Win

Here is the link to listen to a great episode on “Comps Harvesting.”

Listening to it also brought back fond memories of trips to Atlantic City in the early 90’s when a certain tribal casino in Connecticut would change the casino landscape forever in the northeast – with the help of Pennsylvania.

At that time, Atlantic City seemed to dismiss Connecticut’s tribal casinos – Foxwoods and the addition of Mohegan Sun in 1996.  AC felt it had no threats to it’s east coast monopoly on gambling, with its thousand of riders by bus – “daytrippers.”

Remembering the Claridge & the Sands.

Remembering the Claridge & the Sands.

Listening to “Due For A Win” brought back memories of playing at the Claridge, collecting all players club cards, eating at Pickles Deli and staying in the small, old, but always clean rooms at Ballys.  Going up and down the long elevator and people mover at the Sands.  It was a great time.

Summer on the Boardwalk Late 90's

Summer on the Boardwalk Late 90’s

Now I spend a few times a year driving to AC, staying at Borgata, and while I enjoy myself in AC, I leave feeling sad after seeing the closed historic casinos on the Boardwalk.

Finding this new podcast gives me hope for Atlantic City.  They add some history with great gambling segments, AC’s up-to-date casino news, and humor about a city trying to reinvent itself.

The dynamic duo of Kyle & Craig write, “We spent so much time talking about proper blackjack techniques, casino openings and closings, comped rooms in Atlantic City, and potential-but-unlikely Vegas trips that we decided to create a blog. Despite our prolific output (10 posts in three years), we realized what we really enjoy is talking about Atlantic City and the casino business with each other, so we started the Due For A Win podcast in November 2015 and have been recording our discussions every other week since then.”

Besides the terrific podcasts, they also include a blog, tweets at @dueforawin, and a kickin’ Facebook Group, where anything and everything Atlantic City can be explored with its large fan base.

cropped-resorts_edited-3

Due For A Win – A podcast and blog about Atlantic City and the casino business.

I highly recommend this podcast – even though my loyalty is here in New England with our seven casinos – 10 or 11 by 2019.  But, to be honest, I enjoy my visits to AC. I feel it will rise again to relevancy with the seven casinos it has.

From the Marina to the Boardwalk,  “Due For A Win” can help you out with questions and concerns about your next AC trip.  Give them a chance – then subscribe.  You’ll be glad you did.

Binbin

And The Best Casino in the Country Is…….. Not in Las Vegas?

USA Today’s Ten Best came out with its annual list of the Ten Best Casinos, and Las Vegas was almost completely absent from the list. The Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California was voted the best casino in the country by the readers of USA Today. Pechanga has a 200,000-square-foot casino, 3,400 slots, 130 table games, a 43-table poker room, 700-seat Bingo hall and areas for high limits and non-smoking gamers as well.

By the way, #5, the Hard Rock, is owned by Twin River Management, owners of Rhode Island’s  Twin River Casino. They bought the property last year.

The Borgata Hotel and Casino gave Atlantic City its sole entry onto the list, yet Connecticut had two with Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods coming in at number two and three respectively.  Here is the rest of the list:

Pechanga Resort & Casino – Temecula, Calif.

Mohegan Sun – Uncasville, Conn.

Foxwoods Resort Casino – Mashantucket, Conn.

L’Auberge Casino Resort – Lake Charles, La.

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Biloxi – Biloxi, Miss.

Harrah’s Resort Southern California – Valley Center, Calif.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – Atlantic City

Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa – Las Vegas

French Lick Resort – French Lick, Ind.

Thunder Valley Casino Resort – Lincoln, Calif.

To be honest, casino patrons vote for their favorite casino, But only an initial 20 nominees were picked by a panel of experts. The top 10 winners were then picked by popular vote.

There are some notable casinos missing.  To think that the following either didn’t make the top ten, or were not nominated:

Las Vegas – Cosmopolitan, Aria, Mandalay Bay, Wynn-core, Venitian

Biloxi, MS – Beau Rivage

San Diego, CA – Barona

 

Thats all for now.

Binbin

Mohegan Sun Launches Online Gaming in New Jersey

image(25)The United States, since 2014, has permitted intrastate online gambling,(gambling contained by the borders of one state).  The only wagers that cross state lines include fantasy sports and paramutual betting, i.e., horse racing. Since then three states have been licensed, regulated, and permitted to include intrastate online gaming – Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Dover Downs has an app for its Online Casino

Dover Downs has an app for its Online Casino

The chief obstacle to intrastate online gambling has been the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) interpretation of the Wire Act which was enacted in 1961 to prevent bookmakers from accepting sports bets over the telephone. For years, the DOJ maintained the Wire Act prohibited all forms of Internet gambling, while online gaming proponents maintained the Wire Act only applied to sports betting.

online-casino (1)Many casinos in other states now offer online play, but without real money involved.  “Foxplay” is a good example offered by Foxwoods.

But now Mohegan Sun, in Connecticut, is launching a licensed online casino.  If you noticed, CT wasn’t one of the three licensed online gambling states – but New Jersey is.

Resorts

Resorts, Atlantic City, New Jersey

As reported by Dan Katz from PokerNewsDaily.com, “….in August 2012, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, operator of the Mohegan Sun, took over the management of the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. Thus, the Mohegan Sun piggy-backed off of Resorts’ license and is now on the same platform as ResortsCasino.com.”  Resorts has had an online casino in New Jersey and has showed increases in revenue each month, although online gaming such as this hasn’t really taken off in all three states as they would have liked.

Icon-Play4Real_Web-180x180

Mohegan Sun Online Casino Portal

Katz continues, “There are now 17 licensed online gambling sites in New Jersey. Most of them, like Mohegan Sun, are online casino sites, offering games such as slots, roulette, video poker, and blackjack. There are only a handful of online poker rooms. Poker fans are eagerly awaiting the launch of an 18th site, PokerStars.com. PokerStars, like MoheganSunCasino.com, will be launched with Resorts.”

For those of us in New England, the online sites at both Connecticut casinos are similar.  Mohegan is going through a soft launch for now, and will be open for business soon.

 

Was It A Happy Labor Day for 8000 AC Employees?

AC POSTCARD

or, GREETINGS FROM WHAT’S LEFT OF IT

Today, the  day after Labor Day, 2014, some 8,000 employees of Atlantic City’s closing casinos are looking for work.  Some say it’s market saturation, others say mismanagement. My opinion for the blame falls on many shoulders:

1) AC itself.  For over a decade, most of Atlantic City took the arrogant approach to marketing – simply depending on day-trippers and bus-trippers, while competition grew all around them.  Their measly little airport, and the long trip by car with tons of tolls is just not a trip people want to make as much anymore – especially when casinos are less than an hour away in the northeast.

Caesars Entertainment

Caesars Doesn’t Seem to have that Midas Touch

2) Mismanagement by Caesars.  Originally Harrah’s & Caesars entertainment, the two merged to be one of the big boys in gaming.  What does it have to show for it?  A financial hole deeper than the Grand Canyon, properties not kept up throughout the US, and closings, such as Showboat.  Did you know that Showboat in AC was making money?  And yet, those employees are without jobs because Caesars wants to push everyone to their center boardwalk area.

3) Market Saturation.  Yup, it’s true.  We’ve got a whole bunch of casinos out here in the northeast – spread out so that an hour drive will bring you close to some casino anywhere from Maryland to Maine.  But isn’t it that great American Spirit, founded by a hard-working blue collar class, that found new ways of prosperity when the chips are down?  All AC did was build a few retail outlets and said “Here we are, the East-coast Vegas – we know you’ll come here no matter what.”  And $5.00 parking – after all those tolls getting there, who wants to deal with that?  There is no status quo – either you pass them by or they pass you, and AC has been passed by is for the past decade has been lurking behind the pack.

ACHilton

Atlantic Club, or previously the Atlantic City Hilton

What happened is the closing of the Atlantic Club, formerly the Atlantic City Hilton, and the 6th casino built in AC 24 years ago – as the Golden Nugget by Steve Wynn!…………….Gone

 

 

 

Showboat Ac

The Atlantic City Showboat

What happened is today, Showboat is closed.  A mainstay next to the Taj Mahal for low and mid -rollers – heck it even had a bowling alley before many big names out west like Stations and South Point added them to their resorts………………Gone

 

 

 

Revel Ac

The Billion-Dollar Atlantic City Revel

What happened is Revel, the billion-dollar beauty couldn’t make it.  The hotel that it was compared to was Las Vegas’s Cosmopolitan.  Cosmo found a buyer, it’s still in business and turning around.  Revel…………….Gone

 

 

 

Trump Plaza

Trump Plaza in Atlantic City

What happened is Trump Plaza is closing.  Did you know Harrah’s initially built it with Trump as a joint-venture?  Yup, and then pulled out, letting Trump run it. In 2013, it seemed the property would be sold and renovations would be made.  But, to no avail.  It’s deterioration made it undesirable.  Trump Plaza……………………Gone very soon.

 

 

You know who aren’t to blame? all those men and women who gave their heart and soul to those casinos – many from the day it opened.  To those loyal AC casino employees of you, I pray that the best is ahead of you.  AC let you down.

Binbin

N E Time Gambling

Northeast Casino Saturation?

Northeast US

Did Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun secretly wish that the future casino saturation in the Northeast was true when Massachusetts passed the gaming law in 2011? Were there hushed discussions over the CT casino water coolers wishing for the repeal of gambling in Massachusetts back then?

Pat one point beginning to believe my post a long time ago about the number of possible casinos in New England may saturate the region.  Well, I have to think that saturation is becoming a real deal – and not only in New England.  In case You haven’t been following her are the number of casinos by state from Maryland north to Maine:

  1. Maryland – Five casinos, one to be added; Began as slots only in 2008, added tables games after 2012.  Revenue numbers increased.
  2. Delaware – Three VLT based casinos at the three pari-mutuel racetracks operated by the Lottery.  Table games added in 2010.  Revenue number in decline.
  3. Pennsylvania – Twelve casinos authorized and built after 2004; Revenue experienced 4% decline last year
  4. New Jersey – Gambling approved in 1976. By end of this year, nine casinos left with three closing it’s doors – might be four if Revel can’t find a buyer; Revenue consistently in decline since early 2000.
  5. New York – Began with change of two Class II Indian Casinos to Class III after 2003.  Since, casino growth continues with presently 21 casinos with 7 more licenses to be habded out.  Indian Class III casinos have the only slots, the rest in NY are VLT that act like bingo terminals.  resorts World continues to have one of east’s highest grossing revenues.
  6. Connecticut – Began Class III gaming with two casinos – Two casinos – Foxwoods in 1994 & Mohegan Sun in 1996.  Since recession of 2007, experienced constant spiral in revenue declines; two more casinos possible with two other tribes fighting for recognition.
  7. Rhode Island – Two Casinos – Twin River (with table games) and Newport Grand (slots only).  referendum in November for expansion on Newport casino.
  8. Massachusetts – Four licenses to be handed out with a possible addition of Mashpee Wampanoags in Southeastern region.  November Vote may repeal gambling law of 2011.
  9. Maine – Two casinos opened, Hollywood in 2005 and Oxford in 2012 – both class III.  One class II Indian Casino.

So, the math is a little weird with all the closings, possibilities, votes, etc.  The count seems to a whopping at this time is 56!   with + or – …………….well, we’ll just wait and see.

Scott Calvert and Jon Kamp an their article in the Wall Street Journal said “Twenty-six casinos have opened since 2004, fueling a 39% increase in total annual gambling revenue in the mid-Atlantic and New England, according to a study by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Within 100 miles of Philadelphia, there now are 24 casinos, a big shift from the early 1990s, when Atlantic City, N.J., enjoyed an East Coast monopoly. At least a dozen more gambling spots are in the pipeline from Massachusetts to Maryland, raising fears in states such as Rhode Island that their casino tax windfall is at risk.”  The article is outstanding.   check it out at http://online.wsj.com/articles/casino-boom-pinches-northeastern-states-1403220428

 

Is there saturation?  You bet! (no pun intended)  As in Atlantic City, it could mean survival of the fittest until a manageable amount is seen.  But that won’t be until the expansion hysteria ends many years from now.

That’s all for now.

Binbin

 

Stupid Poker Player At Borgata and the Lesson It Teaches

I was going to post today about how comically stupid some criminals can be when I read a story about bogus chips in Atlantic City. But then, I thought, “This could be a teaching moment.” So, here is a both.  A story about how stupid criminals can be, and what it can mean to you and me.

I was reading about the poker tournament at Borgata in Atlantic City where a “significant number of counterfeit chips” were used. So, because of that, state regulators canceled the tournament. The rest of the story is quite comical. Continue reading

AC Trip-the good, the bad, and the sadly same old, same old

The Good
1) Stayed at Borgata – Great renovations to room. Big flat screen tv, refrigerator available, and if you have stayed at red rock in Vegas, and loved it, you’ll feel right at home.
A great casual dining place is the Bread and Butter for terrific sandwiches and
Roma’s has terrific breakfast sandwiches. I suggest the Roman wrap with the hash browns in the wrap. Outstanding.
They are celebrating their 10 year anniversary celebration and were giving away free t-shirts.
The gaming at Borgata is great – VP with 9/6 jacks all over, even 9/6 DDB. Fun slots, as well as the usual new ones included Dolly Parton and my new fave Willy Wonka. The oompa loompa random bonus is similar to the Glinda bonus on the old wizard of oz machines, only the the screen is extended to the panel above. Lots of fun.

2) The Atlantic Club, which used to be AC Hilton , is nicely renovated. And good promos. Friday is $1 comp buffet day and is a Great value. Its a small, but good buffet. Choices are limited, but well done. Limited desserts, but chocolate cake is to diefor. Other promos include free parking if you make $1 tier point (otherwise, parking is $10, ouch!). And for first timers, after 1/2 hour play, you are eligible for $5 – $5000 in free slot play. Normally, it’s the usually bottom given out like $5, but I received $20, which I made into $60 playing slots. So lets review: free buffet for 1 tier point ( fridays only), free parking for another tier point, and a free slot play that played into $60 profit. I definately recommend Atlantic Club – I’m going back.

3) Revel – loved it. It’s like being in Vegas. It probably doesn’t fit the AC casino profile, but definately worth the visit. After a tough start, they are trying to right the ship with many changes. And the month of July includes a loss replacement promo that seems like a pretty strong play. It brings a freshness of a resort that AC desperately needs. Great little touches, like an taco truck inside the casino, anda bar called mussels with a beer menu like I have never seen. Fabulous for the beer conisiure.
So, between AC Club, Revel, and the best of AC borgata, I’ll be back.

Now the Bad & the Sad

1) Resorts – the only good addition to this place is margaritaville and the landshark grill overlooking the beach. The speakeasy vibe the are going for in the casino is not working. And the gaming is pathetic – poor vp, high table limits (buts that’s all over AC) and typical of boardwalk properties, it seems that to the place that old slots go to die. I mean, even the reels are outdated, never mind the video slots which seem ten years behind the times. The place left me with the feeling like i needed to take a shower upon leaving.

2) Caesars (I still call them Harrahs) properties on the boardwalk.  Filthy, overcrowded, machines, many outdated, packed on top of each other, enough to suffocate everyone. Terrible vp tables, high limits, dirty, abused and not kept up. The same “mo” as in Vegas – properties full of neglect. And it’s quite obvious that wild Wild West is just an afterthought for Harrahs entertainment – 75% is closed off, neglected and basically used to get you from Ballys to Caesars.

3) Also a sign of the times for the boardwalk – lts of people for beach, same scuzzy traveling carnival feel walking on the boardwalk. I sware that the same people own all the cheap disgusting clothing sheds ( I can’t even call the kiosks because it would be insulting to kiosk owners). The pier, the big boat of shopping has more empty stores than ever. Similar retail to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun? I Think NOT!
Anyone go to the deli “Pickles” in Ballys? It used to be the quintessential east coast casino deli – now it’s a a takeout fast food deli. Same good menu, but the ambience is gone for good. It was sad eating there, even though their Reuben is one of the best.

The wrap up, unless you like dilapidated, smoke filled, outdated casinos, stick to the three corners – Atlantic Club, Revel, and the best – Borgata.

That’s all for now. Back to New England, where my real gaming heart is.

Binbin