Posts Tagged ‘harrahs casinos’

American Gaming Association Reveals Just How Hot its Casino Members are for Online Gambling Regulation

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

All things said and done, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is in favor of legalizing online casino gambling in the United States. The irony is (other than the fact that the AGA used to be dead set against regulating online gambling) that the AGA isn’t necessarily in favor of individual States being “united” in exercising their right to regulating internet betting. In other words, the AGA is a proponent of giving individual States’ the choice to offer regulation, or rather, that such a right to decide is, in fact, available.

Now, whether or not the AGA is in support of every single State in the Union legalizing online gambling, isn’t necessarily clear since they really haven’t come out of the closet to announce their position to the world, albeit I can pretty much guarantee AGA members, which include the likes of Harrah’s, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Mirage, Boyd Gaming, Bally Technologies and International Game Technology, are licking their chops to get a footing in as many State’s as possible.

Sooooooo, while the online casino software “institution”, Cryptologic, has reported a loss of $12 million in the second quarter of 2010, the American Gaming Association has revealed it has spent over $360,000 lobbying U.S. government officials in a bid to get online gambling regulation legislation (say that 10 times real fast, I dare you), passed into law, and consequently, the infamous Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) overturned and placed alongside prohibition as the stupidest bills ever placed into law. This figure is in addition to the $430,000 spent in the first quarter!

Obviously, the AGA’s money is the money of the aforementioned member companies. And there’s no denying that Harrah’s Entertainment wants a large piece of the pie. In fact, the U.S. based casino gambling giant already has an online casino in the works and is currently testing out the waters in the regulated European online gambling scene. IGT is already benefiting via the company’s software developer, Wager Works, which supplies the popular UK Casino, Virgin Games.

So yes, there is plenty of firsthand proof that there is plenty of money to be made off of the legalization of online gambling, no matter where in the world. And everybody knows the American gambling scene supplies the bulk of online gambling activity (even with the UIGEA in effect). So long as regulatory laws are not passed that foster competitive advantages or disadvantages between commercial casinos, Native American casinos, State lotteries and parimutuel betting operations, the AGA says, regulate, regulate, regulate!

Atlantic City Casino Operators Apparently in Talks With Online Gaming Software Devlopers

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Atlantic City must be hurting. I mean – come on – there’s no denying all of Atlantic City has been hurting for a long time now. Err, I suppose ever since the day casinos first opened on the boardwalk.

But really, Atlantic City had it’s heyday, and the idea now is to get back to that place before Playboy Casino was shut down and Donald Trump got the idea that he could rule AC with just a hotel and a bad hair piece (it never gets old!). Considering how the casinos have been faring, you can’t really blame him, can you?

Anyhow, now that there is a glimmer of hope for online gambling regulation in the States, land-based casino operators in Atlantic City (not to mention Las Vegas) are looking into the prospects of running a counterpart online casino. Business is not great, and quite frankly, the World Wide Web is stealing billions of dollars from brick ‘n mortar casinos.

You would have thought online casino gambling was legalized several years back, would you not? Oh but wait – the technology itself came about during the Bush administration, and instead of giving it a proper study, Republican conservatives and the religious right had their say in getting online gambling (well, at least some forms) banned.

Never mind the fact that England has been successfully regulating and taxing internet betting for over five years – without rises in problem and underage gambling mind you. But don’t get me started. Believe me, I can go on about this not only until the fat lady sings but also when the cows come home.

Anyhow, back to Atlantic City.

The President of the New Jersey Casino Association, Mark Juliano, has alluded that New Jersey casino operators are indeed working with software providers in preparation of legalized online gambling. Okay, scratch that. Juliano didn’t allude (as reported elsewhere), he outright said it. He even said the Association thinks it is “inevitable” that legislation will pass “at some point”.

And not that this is a big surprise, really. Harrah’s was adamantly opposed to regulating online gambling when the idea first presented itself. It took several years of losing revenue and a budding realization that regulation really does work for Harrah’s to turn on a dime and direct their efforts toward getting online gambling legalized.

So yes, when online gambling is finally legalized in the U.S. a virtual Atlantic City is likely to show up very soon thereafter. Whether or not the online gaming package will be any good (AC casino operators are years behind the game), is anybody’s guess.

The Biggest Casino Loser in History; And Harrah’s Still Wants More

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Is toy magnate Terry Watanabe a victim of Harrah's?

Is toy magnate Terry Watanabe a victim of Harrah's?

Next time you experience a string of bad luck at an online casino, just tell yourself it could have been much worse. You could have experienced the fate of Terry Watanabe – the 52 year-old owner of Oriental Trading Company, and long time high-stakes (some would say high risk) gambler who could be forced to pay up nearly $15 million in gambling debt to Harrah’s Casino Inc.

Considered the “biggest loser” in the history of casino gambling, Terry Watanabe lost over $204 million to Harrah’s over the years, and apparently, still owes them another $15 million. While that’s no small chunk of change by no means, considering the bucket loads of cash Watanabe has hitherto thrown away at Harrah’s-owned Vegas casinos, the news that Harrah’s has filed for a civil court case (set to begin July 12th), is a little surprising.

Normally when a losing whale the likes of Watanabe owes money to a casino, anything outstanding – especially if it’s in dispute – would be written off by the casino. However, in today’s economy, $15 million goes a very, very, very long way. There is no doubt that Harrah’s is facing very tough times of their own, doing their best to turn a profit in a city that has been steadily losing gambling revenue for the last two years.

Whale or no whale, Harrah’s wants Watanabe to pay up. Whether he will be forced to do so remains to be seen. Watanabe has already retaliated with a lawsuit of his own, claiming that he was regularly doused up with drugs and alcohol (by Harrah’s management perhaps), only to be let loose on the casino floor thereafter. While there is certainly no crime to drink and gamble, it is against the rules to allow intoxicated people to gamble. Apparently, there’s proof to back up this claim. According to Watanabe’s defense attorney, a Caesar’s Palace Casino security guard is ready to testify that he never saw Watanabe in a sober state while on the casino floor.

One thing is for sure – Terry Watanabe was no smart gambler – sober or intoxicated. A personal handler for Watanabe (again, at Caesar’s Palace) is on record saying, “He (Watanabe) made such bad decisions at the blackjack table”, citing that he’d regularly bet $50,000 hands using no strategy. Needless to say, Blackjack is one of the few games in the casino that can be played with odds-improving strategy. Other casino games of choice for Watanabe included Slots and Craps.

The Craps table was especially home to many a show performed by Terry Watanabe. Drawing crowds who apparently would come to the casino just to watch Watanabe wager seriously high stakes and dish out $20,000 tips to dealers, Watanabe no doubt made a spectacle on the casino floor. As much as Harrah’s and the floor “fans” would have liked Watanabe to pay his debts and keep coming back, it looks like they will have to settle for David Copperfield from now on. If convicted, Watanabe could face up to 16 years in prison.