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Gaming Report: Caesars CEO Mark Frissora Steps Down, Florida Voters to Decide on the Future of Casinos & More

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  • Namita Ghosh November 3, 2018
  • 5 Minutes Read

In the latest news coming in from the popular Caesars Entertainment, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Frissora has announced that he will be stepping down from office in February 2019. This news comes in at the same time when Caesars has entered a 15-year partnership with Las Vegas Raiders stadium.

The date for the November midterm elections in Florida is fast approaching, and on November 6, voters will get to vote on ‘Amendment 3’ and choose whether they’d like to have the exclusive rights to decide on casino gambling decisions in the state.

There’s big news coming in from Europe and Asia as well. While the Dutch gaming regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has levied €350,000 in fines upon online casino operators CyberRock Entertainment NV and Honeydew Trading Ltd, Macau casinos posted a record-breaking $3.38 Billion in revenue for October 2018.

Caesars CEO Mark Frissora Will Be Stepping Down in February 2019

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Caesars Entertainment, Mark Frissora will be stepping down from his post in February 2019. Frissora has been at the chair since 2015, when he joined as the company’s first new CEO in 12 years. Caesars announced the news of Frissora’s stepping down on Thursday, without naming any replacement for him.

Mark Frissora
Mark Frissora

Mark Frissora

In a statement, the Caesar’s Board of Directors thanked Frissora “for his instrumental role in leading the Company through a challenging period and setting Caesars on a course for sustained, long-term growth and value creation.”

In his response, Frissora expressed confidence in Caesar’s prospects after his departure. He also reiterated his commitment and readiness to “to maintaining stability and operating discipline during this transition.”

Apart from announcing Frissora’s departure, the company also released its third-quarter earnings report, displaying higher-than-expected earnings of 14 cents per share.

Notably, during Frissora’s tenure, Caesars’ shares fell by more than 20% according to CNBC reports. On Thursday after Caesars announced Frissora’s stepping down, Caesar’s shares rose sharply and after-hours trading showed a 9% rise.

In a bid to push itself out of its failing fortunes, Caesars has also announced a 15-year partnership with Las Vegas Raiders stadium. The $1.7 Billion project that features 65,000 seats is scheduled to open in 2020 for the NFL season, where it will be the home of Las Vegas Raiders once the team moves from Oakland.

“The Raiders are proud to welcome Caesars Entertainment as a founding partner of Las Vegas Stadium. We are honored to align with a company that shares the Raiders’ values of improving the local community and delivering exceptional customer service in creating this transformative project.” Raiders’ president Marc Badainin said.

As part of the partnership, Caesars Entertainment customers and Total Rewards members will gain access to exclusive Raiders experiences, that includes visits to the customized Caesars-branded Owners Suite at the 50-yard line, VIP dinners on the field, stadium tours, fantasy camp participation, tickets to home games etc.

Florida’s Voters to Decide on Casino Gambling

The voting residents of the US state of Florida will have the opportunity to decide on whether or not they want to have the exclusive right to authorize casino gambling in the state on November 6.

Florida Voting
Florida Voting

Following a signature campaign by the anti-gambling expansion group, Voters in Charge who successfully garnered more than 766,200 petition signatures to get a proposed constitutional amendment included in November’s midterm elections ballot, the same will be put forth as ‘Amendment 3’.

If passed, Amendment 3 aka the Voter Approval of Casino Gambling Initiative would empower the state residents to authorize gambling expansion.

Disney and the Seminole Tribe of Florida that operates six casinos in the state have heavily supported the measure. While Disney is trying to protect its dominance in the tourism sector and has poured in close to $20 Million in the campaign, the Seminoles have contributed $17 Million to back the proposal. The Seminole Tribe has recently reached an agreement with Governor Rick Scott to continue to pay more than $300 Million annually for exclusive rights to operate and spread blackjack and other games.

However, there is strong opposition to Amendment 3, as well. Operators have warned that the constitutional amendment will hamper the growth of the gambling industry in Florida, since the measure required approval of 60% of state residents.

Another group called Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3 has raised $15 Million to fight the measure, with funding from sources like Tampa Bay Downs, MGM Resorts International and Jacksonville, while daily fantasy sports site FanDuel has urged its Florida players to vote no to the measure and Poker Alliance has also opposed it.

“Amendment 3 is a pernicious and anti-competitive approach to limiting poker and other gaming in the state of Florida for decades to come,” President of the Poker Alliance Mark Brenner said.

Florida voters will also be deciding on the Amendment 13 that seeks to ban dog racing, and phase out all greyhound racing and wagering by 2021.

Six-Figure Online Penalties Issued by Dutch Regulators

Online casinos in Netherlands do not seem to be faring too well at present as six figure fines were imposed by Dutch gambling regulators against online casino operators serving Dutch punters without the government`s permission.

Kansspelautoriteit
Kansspelautoriteit

On November 2, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) gaming authority declared that a total of €350,000 in fines levied against Curacao-based CyberRock Entertainment NV and Cyprus-based Honeydew Trading Ltd, which share common ownership.

According to the KSA seven gambling sites operated by the two companies, which includes Play2wincasino.com, Supremeplay.com, Casinofiz.com, Eurofortunegames.com, Rockbet.com, Vanguardscasino.com and Vegasdays.com, were “almost entirely Dutch” through their use of language options and the Dutch-friendly iDeal online payment processor.

The Dutch gambling authority has belligerently penalized numerous other sites for similar violations in recent years and has significantly changed up its enforcement efforts over the past few months. The Netherlands is in the process of gradually opening its online gambling market and senior government officials have suggested that penalized operators may have to serve an unspecified period of absence from the market before they’ll be eligible to even apply for a new Dutch license.

The government may feel entitled to delay on updating the country’s online gambling laws given a recent EenVandaag survey of over 21,000 Dutch citizens that found only 34% of respondents support the new rules, while 43% are opposed and 23% are undecided.

However, the same survey found that 38% of those surveyed didn’t realize that online gambling was technically illegal in the Netherlands, while 39% believed it was already legal.

Record $3.38 Billion Picked Up by Macau Casinos in October 2018

Macau Casino
Macau Casino

The revenues registered by Macau casinos in October were the highest monthly revenue posted by the gaming capital of the world in the past four years. Reportedly earnings 27.3 Billion patacas ($3.38 Billion) in revenues, October’s numbers were almost 20% stronger than the $2.73 Billion won in September.

Even though Macau had showed the slowest gaming revenue growth for the Chinese gambling hub in more than two years in September, the casino stocks soared during the first day of trading after the October numbers were released. Wynn Resorts was up 13.5% and Las Vegas Sands up 10%.

According to Bloomberg, “even though October represented the 27th straight month of revenue growth in Macau, the casino hub has seen softening growth since the second quarter. While mass market revenue has maintained solid revenue growth, VIP business has been hit by weakening China property price and stock market turmoil.”

But this might just be the tip of the iceberg. After the opening of the $18.7 Billion Hong Kong- Zuhai- Macau bridge on October 24, the Macau casinos revenues are expected to increase further.

Being the only place in China that legally allows gambling, Macau had a gaming win of $33 Billion in 2017, close to three times what was won in the entire state of Nevada. According to International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) July 2018 World Economic Outlook Update, Macau is expected to bypass Qatar as the richest region in the world.

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