Archive for the ‘Land Casinos’ Category

Atlantic City Casinos to Reopen Today

Monday, August 29th, 2011

new_jerseyToday at noon, the Atlantic City casinos are set to reopen after being closed for a storm over the weekend. It was only the third time in history that all eleven casinos were closed at the same time.

It was one of the many overreactions to Irene, the once-hurricane that was a tropical storm when it hit New Jersey. While it’s true that the American northeast isn’t used to getting hit by hurricanes and tropical storms, the level of hype that the media and politicians tried to stir up seemed inappropriate to anyone who is used to the storms. In the end, a lot of people ended up without power, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg violated people’s civil rights as usual, but there wasn’t much else that the storm did to the northeast. Well, aside from shut down the casinos.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was one of the politicians that overreacted to the storm, and he continues to say that the government’s response saved lives. Whether you agree or not, the mandatory evacuation of coastal areas of New Jersey, including Atlantic City, put the economy at a standstill. Though the storm caused some flooding, none of the casinos are believed to have been damaged and all are expected to reopen for business at noon today.

According to authorities, though, it may be difficult for gamblers to get to the casinos. Many of the highways heading into Atlantic City are blocked by flooding or downed trees. If the residents hadn’t evacuated they would be able to get to the casinos but getting from outside of the area back to Atlantic City could be difficult.

Key Showdown Between AC Casinos & Union

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

new_jerseyThe casino industry in Atlantic City, New Jersey is as fragile as ever. In a weak economy, the casinos are looking for ways to cut into their losses and head back onto the path toward prosperity. In doing so, though, they are now butting heads with the biggest labor union in the gambling industry. The fate of this showdown could have a major impact in the economic stability of the New Jersey gambling market.

Nine of the eleven Atlantic City casinos will have their current labor contracts expire on September 15. One other casino, Resorts Casino, is negotiating a new contract after coming under new ownership, but does not have a deadline. That means all but one of the city’s casinos are currently engaged in high-stakes negotiations with UNITE-HERE, Local 54.

Facing major budget deficits and an economy in which tourists are not spending as much money in casinos, the casino industry is asking for concessions from the union. The casinos are asking that the union workers for the first time pay toward their healthcare coverage and pension benefits. Currently, unlike most of the nation’s workers, the union workers get free healthcare and pension contributions without paying anything into it themselves.

The union has rejected the idea, with Local 54 president Bob McDevitt saying that they need to come to a compromise “without driving employees into poverty.” McDevitt said that he is willing to listen to other compromises.

The negations with Resorts Casino have been particularly tense, with the union accusing the casino of forcing workers into poverty. To demonstrate that, the union led a drive to sign up workers for food stamps. Dennis Gomes, CEO of Resorts Casino, said that the casino “wanted to make an example of us for the entire industry.”

McDevitt warned that if the casinos and the union don’t reach an agreement by September 15, the union may strike. The union has done that before in 1986, 1999 and 2004. McDevitt then offered another warning for the casinos. “I can’t overemphasize the kind of danger a strike would have on the entire city.”

Could Kentucky Expand Gambling?

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

kentucky-location-mapDuring a recent campaign event in Louisville, Kentucky, a potential game-changer was revealed in terms of gambling expansion. Kentucky is not one of the states that is pushing for the implementation of intrastate online casinos. However, Governor Steve Beshear has been pushing for a bill that would legalize electronic gambling machines at the state’s horseracing tracks. Today it was revealed that it could actually happen.

Beshear is up for reelection this November. His main opponent is David Williams, President of the state Senate. Gambling expansion was part of Governor Beshear’s platform in 2007, but it never happened. Beshear says that Senator Williams blocked the legislation, which Williams denies. Now Williams concedes that a similar bill could make it through the Senate this time.

On Wednesday, speaking with the press after the two met for at a Kentucky Farm Bureau forum, Williams said that he believes “there are the votes in the state Senate to put it on the ballot.” If it then passed the House as well, Kentucky’s voters would get to decide on whether to legalize electronic gambling at the tracks. Williams didn’t seem happy about that admission, though, adding that “I’m not one of them.”

Senator Williams says that he opposes gambling expansion not on moral grounds but because it is “bad public policy.” Still, he believes that a bill to put the issue on the November ballot could pass the Senate this time. Williams is quick to point out that he will no longer be a state Senator after that vote is held, though. He believes he will be the governor. That shouldn’t worry gamblers, though. The governor doesn’t have the authority to veto an amendment passed by voters.

New Colorado Casino Panel Mum on Tax Issue

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

coloradoThe U.S. state of Colorado has a new casino panel. Five new members of the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission took over after the governor was unhappy with the actions of the previous five-member panel. Still, the issue that caused the commission to be replaced is not yet on the radar of the new panel.

Back in May, the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission approved a 5% tax cut for the state’s casinos. Governor John Hickenlooper was furious and asked three of the commission members to resign. The other two simply came to the end of their term and decided not to seek another term. Governor Hickenlooper then appointed a new five-person panel, which took over the commission’s duties earlier this month.

Despite the commission being replaced due to the tax break, there has so far been no talk of repealing the cut for the Colorado casinos. Yesterday, the new chairman, Robert Webb, said they have not discussed the issue and it is not scheduled for discussion.

Governor Hickenlooper criticized the tax break, which took effect on July 1, because no other business got one. He said that Colorado’s casinos should be treated the same as other businesses. In addition, the casinos have remained profitable in the bad economy while many other businesses have not, so they did not need the tax cut as much as other businesses. The casinos said they needed the tax break to remain competitive, but Governor Hickenlooper said that it will take money away from community colleges and other places that rely on gaming revenue.

Huge Opening for Illinois Casino

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Illinois_2Okay, so a new casino opened in Illinois on Monday. We hear about casino openings all the time, so is it really a big deal? Will that many people really notice?

Well, the answer is yes. How big was this? Well, the crowd for the grand opening of Rivers Casino was so big that casino management actually contacted expected guests and asked them to consider delaying their visit until another time. Imagine that. The place was so packed that the casino was asking people not to come.

They did so because the parking lots were full and congested with cars waiting for a spot to open up. Pedestrians crowded the sidewalks as they waited to enter the casino. Traffic in the nearby roads was clogged for hours. Police in the nearby city of Rosemont set up barricades to keep casino customers from illegally parking in the parking lots of Rosemont businesses. Yeah, it was a pretty big event.

The casino in Des Plaines, Illinois is the first casino in Cook County. It is also the first casino close enough to cater to the Chicago market that is actually located in the same state. Previously, the casinos closest to Chicago were in Hammond, Indiana and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

There is no report of the money made on opening day, but considering the crowd it must have been a huge opening monetarily for Rivers Casino. For crowd control, the casino made some people wait outside in the heat rather than having everyone go in at once. Once inside, there was a long line to get the rewards cards. Certain games also had waits. It doesn’t make for the best gaming experience, but it certainly shows the excitement of the community and is a good sign for the new casino.

Lamborghini Suing Vegas Casino Business

Friday, July 15th, 2011

A tenant of the Palazzo Las Vegas Resort is being sued by auto manufacturer Lamborghini, has learned. The sports car giant filed a lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas against companies that run Dal Toro Il Ristorante Italiano, Dal Toro Merchandise Gallery and Dal Toro Exotic Car Showroom.

The lawsuit by Lamborghini alleges trademark infringement. The restaurant and car showroom, which are located inside the Palazzo Las Vegas Resort, have logos at the entrances and inside the businesses that are imitations of the Lamborghini logo, according to the auto maker.

According to the lawsuit, the businesses “prominently display a large and striking Lamborghini bull-in-shield protected design at the entrance of defendants’ premises and a Lamborghini protected type mark within defendants’ exotic car showroom.” The lawsuit also says that Dal Toro has been designing and selling clothing and accessories with logos that imitate Lamborghini’s trademark.

Lamborghini-Dal ToroThe lawsuit alleges that the “sale of knockoff products” is part of an elaborate scheme to “trade upon the goodwill and reputation associated with Lamborghini and its high quality, distinctive product lines.” Lorenzo Barracco, who manages the three Dal Toro businesses, said he was only aware of the lawsuit once the Associate Press contacted him for comment. When asked about the case, he said that it sounded frivolous.

“Dal Toro” is Italian for “From the Bull” and the businesses featured logos with a bull on a shield. According to Lamborghini, the logos and other images used by the businesses were in violation of Lamborghini’s trademark. See the comparison at right.

NJ Grants License to Resorts Casino

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

resorts casinoOn Wednesday, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission granted a gambling license to Resorts Casino and its new owners, Morris Bailey and Dennis Gomes. The decision capped off a surprising comeback by the casino that was once destined for closure.

Back in December 2010, Resorts Casino was deep in debt and ready to close its doors. Then Gomes and Bailey swooped in and purchased the company. Since then, they have aggressively re-branded the casino, to controversial results. One of the changes they made was to give the casino a sexy new image. Inspired by the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, which is set in Atlantic City during Prohibition, the casino adopted a retro Roaring Twenties style. That included giving the cocktail waitresses sexy new flapper uniforms. When the company fired older waitresses who didn’t look the part (read: weren’t sexy enough), there were protests and two different lawsuits.

Adding to the risqué image of the new Resorts Casino is the Naked Circus, which will be performed in a tent in the resort parking lot. The casino also opened Atlantic City’s first in-casino gay bar, called Prohibition.

Staying in business required more than simply re-branding and trying to bring in more customers with a sexy new image, though. It also required unpopular pay cuts, with casino employees seeing their pay and benefits slashed. The labor union protested and even made a point of signing the workers up for food stamps. While those who had their pay cut were unhappy, Gomes and Bailey pointed out that it was necessary and a pay cut is better than the lack of job that would have come with the casino closing.

Throughout all of that turmoil, Gomes and Bailey were sure that they could turn the casino around. On Wednesday, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission showed some confidence by issuing the gambling license. Though the casino is still losing money, Gomes expects them to break even soon. Given everything that has happened so far, it’s hard to pick against him.

Colorado Casinos Take Advantage of Tax Loophole

Monday, July 11th, 2011

coloradoWhen the economy is bad, business will do whatever it takes to save money. That is why many real money online casinos have moved to jurisdictions like Gibraltar, which has a low tax rate. For brick and mortar casinos, that is not an option. You can’t move into a different area without leaving your customers behind. They can still save tax money, though, if they are creative. It turns out that some Colorado casinos have done exactly that.

Of the 40 casinos that operate in the U.S. state of Colorado, 21 of them are run by nine companies. Those companies each run two or more casinos, but at the same location. Due to a loophole in the gambling law, doing so allows them to save tax money.

Colorado businesses are subjected to a graduated tax structure. The more money you make, the higher percentage of taxes you have to pay. Casinos that bring in less than $2 million per year are taxed at a 0.25% rate. Casinos that bring in $2-5 million pay a 2% tax rate. Casinos that bring in $5-8 million pay 9%, casinos earning $8-10 million pay 11%. Companies that earn between $10 million and $13 million pay a 16% tax. For those casinos that bring in $13 million or more, a 20% tax rate applies.

The bad thing about that graduated tax structure is that it takes away incentive for earning more money. However, due to a loophole in the tax law, the casinos can still make more and pay less. Each casino operator is allowed to receive up to three business licenses for casinos, even if the three casinos are at an interconnected location and share the same name. Many casinos then have opted to add another casino rather than expand as their customer base grows.

There are pros and cons to such a move. If you expand, you don’t have to add as much infrastructure, such as a new cash cage and other amenities that each casinos must have. However, because of the tax break, in many cases it makes more sense to simply use another license. Instead of a company making $10 million and being taxed at an 11% rate, they could be two casinos that make $5 million each, with each being taxed at a 2% rate.

The gaming control board is aware that the casinos are taking advantage of the tax loophole, but they are unable to do something about it. State lawmakers would have to amend the law for the loophole to be closed.

Casino Boosts Income of Community

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

north_carolina_state_mapFor some time, casinos have been controversial businesses. They probably always will be. If you are a reader of, you have probably heard most of the arguments for and against casinos. One of the arguments for casinos is that they have economic and financial benefits to the community. That includes not only those that the casino will employ but the community as a whole. As an American university recently learned, the financial impact of a casino can be huge.

According to a report released by the University of North Carolina, a tribal casino increased the average income of the entire western North Carolina area by 10% over the last decade. The report also says that the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino accounts for 5% of all jobs in the area and 8% of all wages. The casino resort also spent $20 million on private vendors last year alone.

The tribal casino is a private company and usually doesn’t release information about its revenue, but decided to allow the university to conduct the study. Michell Hicks, Principal Chief of the casino, said that they wanted “local leaders and state leaders and even national leaders to have evidence of the benefits” of the casino.

The casino wants the state government to allow it to carry card games and hopes this proof of a benefit to the community helps their case. North Carolina does not allow table games or card dealers, but the casino owners are petitioning lawmakers to change that. The recent data shows that what is good for the casino is good for the community, and not just the tribe. Only 20% of the casino employees are tribal members and the casino employs more than 2,000 people. Scott Hamilton, president of AdvantageWest, an economic development group, said that the casino has greatly benefited the western part of the state and he wants to look into how else to use the casino to the state’s advantage.

Kasich Gets More Money Out of Casino

Monday, June 13th, 2011

ohio-location-mapFor months, Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) has been speaking out against his state’s casinos, saying that they aren’t sharing enough of their revenue. He said that voters got a “raw deal” with the law passed in 2009 and wants to shake the casinos down for more money. Until now, the casinos have balked at his demands, but over the weekend one casino, Rock Ohio Caesars, has agreed to a deal with Kasich.

The specifics of the agreement have not been disclosed, but according to the Columbus Dispatch, Rock Ohio Caesars agreed to a “significant payout” for multiple years in addition to the licensing fees. According to Kasich, the agreement does not include a tax increase. Kasich as also been meeting with Penn National Gaming, but they walked away from the negotiation without reaching an agreement. Kasich issued a statement praising Rock Ohio Caesars for making “additional payments to benefit Ohioans” as well as for negotiating “in good faith and with a spirit of partnership.”

In 2009, Ohio voters approved a referendum allowing casinos and that referendum, passed into law, called for a 33% tax on the casinos as well as a one-time $50 million licensing fee. Though those numbers are set by law, Kasich wants to negotiate an increase on them in order to bring more money to the state, which is in debt.

Prior to reaching this agreement, Rock Ohio Caesars had halted construction of their casinos in Cincinnati and Cleveland due to the uncertainty. Penn National Gaming has one half-built casino in Toledo and another that recently began construction in Columbus. Kasich said that the hopes to reach a deal with Penn National soon.