Archive for February, 2010

Casino industry refuses to dance in Nevada budget crisis

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Friction appears to be building between the land casino industry in Nevada and state legislators scrambling to find a solution to the state’s yawning $900 million budget gap, and this time an economically struggling industry is reluctant to bail the state out.

Suggestions by the Nevada State Legislature Speaker Barbara Buckley that the industry should accept additional taxes or fees to help address the worrying budget deficit were this week met with a strong refusal. Buckley had proposed that the casino industry put up the cash to cover the operations of the Gaming Control Board in addition to the usual taxes and fees.

Some analysts believe that the situation could be good for the online gambling legalisation cause as raising revenue becomes ever more urgent, whilst others seem to feel that the pressure would be focused on the Democratic Party and its expensive social spending program.

Responding to Buckley’s call for assistance, the Nevada Resort Association said it was unable to “reach a consensus among our statewide membership” to support the proposal.

“We gave blood before and have given blood time after time,” said Billy Vassiladis, a lobbyist for the group.

Legislators are not giving up as easily as that, it appears. Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford went on record as saying: “We are not done. Gaming must participate.”

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Greek winner of Mega Fortune jackpot becomes instant multi millionaire

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Georgios A, a 28-year-old Greek player at the Net Entertainment-powered Bet-at-home online casino, is a happy man, having won €3,015,906 and change for a stake of €2.50 whilst playing the Mega Fortune Jackpot progressive around 2 weeks ago.

“At first, I could not believe I had cracked the jackpot” said the newest member of Greece’s millionaires’ club. “I couldn’t help staring at the monitor in disbelief. It took me a while to realise, but right now, I’m simply happy. I’m not quite sure what I will do with the money. I might buy a house and a new car. I also want to help my relatives,” a still bemused Georgios said.

The Greek man is now’s all-time biggest winner, Bet-at home International chief executive Jochen Dickinger revealed. International Ltd., Malta is part of the Mangas Gaming group, a prominent French online gambling enterprise that boasts 1.8 million registered users throughout Europe, and is listed on the Frankfurt and Vienna stock exchanges.

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Blotter: Missouri may force casino closure

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Officials with the Missouri Gaming Commission may force the President Casino near downtown St. Louis to close its doors by revoking its state gambling license. The revocation would not serve as punishment for violation of any state gaming laws; rather, the state would pull the President’s license because its income streams have not met with expectations. The riverboat casino has under-performed for several months and has not produced the level of tax revenue the state desires.

According to gambling industry observers, the shutdown would be the first state-mandated casino closure in US history due to economic issues. The President, a refurbished riverboat that sits docked on the Mississippi River, was among the first casinos in the state. However, the expansion of gaming in the area, including Lumiere Place just a few miles away, have pulled customers away from the "old boat".

The previous owners of the President were in bankruptcy court in 2006 when Pinnacle Entertainment, owners of Lumiere Place and other casinos around the country, purchased the casino’s assets. Since then, income from the President has dropped by two-thirds. The steep drop forced state gaming officials to start looking for other alternatives to compensate for the lost tax revenues.

The Gaming Commission cites a portion of the state’s gaming law that says that they can revoke a casino license if the owners’ behavior becomes "injurious" to the state. Some gaming officials believe that, since Pinnacle was not taking enough action to raise revenues at the president, the loss of tax income from those revenues created an "injurious" condition.

William Eadington, a professor of economics at the University of Nevada, said that the "injurious" clause is not nearly specific enough and gives the state too much power over the fate of failing casinos. He also said that, with the state exercising so much control over the casino industry there, larger casino conglomerates may think twice about establishing new facilities in Missouri, which could cause even more harm to the state’s economy.

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Black and Lime: InterCasino Finally Unveils New Look and Slogan

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Cascading metallic silver dice, a diagonal flash of lime and an elegant black background set the scene for InterCasino’s new look website which was unveiled to an eager public this week.

Stylish icons are balanced against a transitional serif font and the theme continues on the InterCasino poker site. At this time, the rebrand is only on the online casino’s website – the client retains its former styling.

The company has also created a new slogan ‘Welcome to the Extraordinary’ and describes its graphical reinvention as a ‘bold new look’ on its Facebook page.

Brand consultants Michael Peters & Partners were hired to re-imagine InterCasino. The designers describe themselves as ‘at the forefront of brand thinking’.

“We believe the best and most imaginative brands will continue to win the most business…not by being the biggest or oldest or by being the sleekest or shiniest, but by listening to their customers and surprising them with new ideas. That's where we're able to help,” said a spokesman for Michael Peters & Partners

“We are acutely aware of the challenges created by the turbulent financial marketplace, but we know that tomorrow's successful brands will be born today,” he said.

We showed the new look InterCasino website to a handful of players to gauge their reaction. Kevin Everett, a florist, from Great Yarmouth, said: “I like it. It’s reminds me of a big box of chocolates. As long as I can keep winning at the blackjack and roulette then I am very happy,” he said.

Slightly less enthusiastic was regular Luke Sawyers, a keen slots player and bingo enthusiast: “To be honest, I don’t really care what the website looks like. I just want to get paid when I win and InterCasino is very good at that.

“I think the new webpage is alright but I’m not sure about the new slogan. I think I would rather be welcomed to the ‘ordinary’ than the ‘extraordinary’ but – as long as they keep up their excellent customer service and prompt hassle-free payments – I’m happy!”

InterCasino has been in the online gaming business since 1996 and provides access to the best and most entertaining online casino games on the Internet such as Slots, Poker, Blackjack and much more. It is the proud owners of the Millionaires Club which currently has the biggest jackpot in online casino history.

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Bwin financial year performance to come in lower than expected

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

The giant Austrian online gambling group Bwin released its latest results this week, posting a small increase in net gaming revenues of 2.3% year-on-year to €373 million (US$ 503.7 million) in 2009. Preliminary results delivered gross gaming revenues up 6.1% to €446.6 million. Excluding the takeover of Italian gambling group Gioco Digitale the number stands at €432.7 million.

Bwin’s sports betting gross gaming revenues decreased 3.8% to €226.3 million. The company noted that the previous year’s result was boosted by the UEFA 2008 football championship action.

Online poker performed well, with gross gaming revenues soaring 26.1% to €118.8 million, while revenues in the Internet casino field rose 5.4% to €73.7 million. Gross gaming revenues for games increased 30.7% to €27.8 million.

Group betting turnover increased 5.1% to €3.27 billion.

Management said that EBITDA for 2009 should come in at between €100 million and €105 million, somewhat lower than the €110 million the company had anticipated earlier.

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Online gambling division among the under performers at Rank Group

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Full year 2009 results from the Rank Group showed small improvements, although the online gambling division was one of those that under performed last year. Nevertheless, investors will be pleased to hear that a small dividend is in prospect after some tough times with the UK gambling group.

2009 revenues totalled £540 million, up 3.4% year-on-year (2008 FY £522.2 million), generating an EBITDA of £58 million, or 4% lower than the corresponding period in 2008.

The small improvement was mainly due to the performance of the Grosvenor land casino brand, where operating profit rose 19% to £30.9 million. Other divisions fared less well, with the online gambling operations reporting revenues down 3% to £50.8 million which resulted in a fall in operating profit of 1% to £7.5 million.

It was not the only division to under perform; operating profit at Mecca Bingo declined 15% to £32.3 million, and Top Rank Espana posted a decline of 19% to £5.6 million.

Rank management reported that current trading is strong with revenue growth up 5% thanks to a good start by online bingo and casino operations, which are up 9%, and at Grosvenor casinos which are showing an increase of 14%.

The company statement noted: “The current year is forecast to be a period of gradual, if fragile, economic recovery in Britain, Rank’s key market.”

In related news, Rank’s directors have suggested that the government consider a flat tax rate of 15% for all UK betting and gaming, instead of the current seven diverse tax rates.

The company’s ‘Responsible Taxation – Fairness, Simplicity, Sustainability’ report argues the benefits of a flat rate, which include ensuring a competitive equality with overseas operators in more benevolent tax jurisdictions; increasing UK tax income and creating jobs in the UK; lower administrative costs in regard to tax compliance and collection for operators and the Treasury alike.

Ian Burke, the company’s chief executive says: “At the moment the gaming and betting activities of UK consumers are subject to a patchwork quilt of taxation, without any apparent logic or relationship to social policy. It is particularly concerning that the current system of taxation seems to be undermining the aims of the Gambling Act by imposing the highest rates of duty on those venues which provide the greatest degree of supervision and have the lowest rates of underage gambling.”

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Brazilian lottery syndicate cheated out of $30 million win

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Agence France Presse reports the heartbreaking Brazilian gambling story of a 40-strong lottery syndicate that rejoiced over winning $30 million, only to discover that the seller had not entered the numbers in the draw.

Police are investigating a case of fraud after the shop that sold the lucky ticket failed to register it, thus disqualifying it from winning the massive prize.

“We know that the ticket was paid for and if the ticket was not properly issued (by the seller) then fraud was committed,” a local police chief, Clovis da Silva, said.

The government financial agency responsible for the lottery has suspended the shop in the southern city of Novo Hamburgo, and the bitter would-be winners are looking at launching a lawsuit.

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