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The gaming and gambling industry is ever-changing and progressing, and with this evolution comes the need to keep up with the plethora of news and updates.
However, it is hard to keep up when time is running out as is the case with the casino operators in Macau who are up against a deadline for seeking smoking lounge approval.
On the other hand, Russia is trying to keep its population away from online gambling, while Tropicana Atlantic City has opened its doors to sports betting.
Meanwhile, South Korean firm Widus International Leisure Inc.’s luxury hotel project, Clark Marriott located in Philippines will open next week. Coming up with its evaluation of the industry revenue of Las Vegas Strip casinos, the UNLV Center for Gaming Research has stated that casino workers of the Strip casinos were taking home a historically low share of the industry revenue.
The casinos in Macau are running against the clock in a bid to get approval to offer smoking lounges in their establishments. September 28 is the last date by which time casino operators will have to submit all the essential documentations for getting the approval. As of August 31, only 12 of the 37 companies in the city have submitted the necessary applications. The casinos that fail to apply and offer smoking lounges will face fines of up to $24,747.
Following the changes to the law in recent times, on-site smoking in casinos and all gaming venues can only take place in approved smoking lounges. The casinos that offer such lounges will also have to be equipped with advanced-technology smoke extractors, and all plans have to be approved by the Health Bureau.
The September 28 deadline was given to casinos to allow inspectors enough time prior to January 1 to complete all the on-site visits. But a backlog has already developed and with the deadline fast approaching, there is a very high possibility that the Health Burau will be steeped in last-minute submissions.
A total of 88 applications have come through from the 12 operators that have already filed their applications. Among those, 10 in only two locations have already been approved, with the Ponte 16 casino hotel becoming the first smoking lounge to receive approval from the authorities.
Russia’s digital censors are working extremely hard to censor online gambling within the Eurasian country. Russia’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor had blocked approximately 14,500 unauthorized online gambling domains by August 2018, taking the year-to-date total of blocked domains to over 76,000 which is an increase of 269% from the number of blocked domains in all of 2017.
The Russian authorities have banned all online gambling except sports betting and has till date issued 15 online sports betting licenses to Russian firms. According to July website traffic reports, “Fonbet continues to lead the pack, reporting 10.1 Million visits, well ahead of runner-up 1xBet at 8.3 Million visits, while third-place finisher Liga Stavok was well back at 4.9 Milllion.”
About 60% of domestic online betting action is generated by Russian-licensed sites, but these sites too face obstacles which many internationally licensed competitors don’t. The multi-stage process for signing up with one of Russia’s two official online betting payment channels, known as TSUPIS, is yet to be streamlined by the government. This acts as a significant deterrent for prospective Russian bettors to wager with locally licensed operators.
The chairman of the Mobilnaya karta (Mobile Card) processor Anton Rozkhovsky, in an interview with Russian media outlet RG, stated“the First SRO’s TSUPIS had registered over 1.5 Million players, but only about two-thirds of those players had followed through with the final stage in the registration process, which is physically presenting their passport at a Mobilnaya karta retail outlet.”
In the meantime, Russian politicians continue to discuss different ways of diminishing the growing popularity of unauthorized online casinos.
On September 6, the Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City announced that an agreement had been reached between the casino operator and its partner William Hill US to begin offering sports betting at the casino.
According to CDC Gaming Reports, “yesterday’s announcement comes on the heels of another agreement between William Hill US and Eldorado Resorts and Gaming and Leisure Properties, the regional casino operator currently engaged in the process of acquiring Tropicana Entertainment for $1.85 Billion. That acquisition is expected to be completed by beginning of October.”
As per the deal, “William Hill US would oversee all the sports betting operations for Eldorado in exchange for a 20 percent ownership stake in the bookmaker.”
The companies will take responsibility for developing the sportbooks and mobile and online wagering for several Eldorado properties. Meanwhile Tropicana Atlantic City has already started creating a sportsbook along with adding sports betting kiosks throughout the casino.
Clark Marriott, a luxury hotel project of South Korean company Widus International Leisure Inc. will formally open in Philippines next week. The hotel is located in Clark Freeport zone, Pampanga.
The 15-storey hotel will have 260 rooms and while it does not have a separate casino as part of the complex, it is connected to the existing Widus Hotel and Casino as part of the integrated resort. The existing casino has 54 gaming tables and 342 slots, over an area of 48,437 square feet. At present, there are two hotels in the resort.
Widus’ first Clark hotel tower was thrown open to the public in 2008. A year later, the casino was added to the building. In June 2017, Widus announced that it was in the process of a $500 Million expansion.
Once Clark Marriott is functional, a fourth tower is slated to be added to the integrated resort, by 2020. Plans are also in the offing for a golf course that may be developed in collaboration with the Philippines agency, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.
The company is exploring the potential of being listed on the Philippines Stock Exchange, but the move is likely to roll into action after the current expansion program is complete. According to a company representative, an IPO is “still in the pipeline as the company is still studying the feasibility of the market.”
The UNLV Center for Gaming Research has blown horns of alarm over the extremely low share of the industry revenue taken home by casino workers of the Las Vegas Strip casinos.
According to the Center, the Strip casinos generated a record $17.76 Billion in total revenue through 2017, but the 100,000 strong workers on the state’s main casino corridor took in an all-time low share of the revenue. Payroll across all departments was 30% of the revenue, to the tune of $5.4 Billion. The percentage, says the UNLV report, is an “historic low,” which is rather shocking considering the fact that Strip casinos enjoyed all-time high revenue of $180,000 in this period.
“The past 25 years have seen tremendous growth on the Las Vegas Strip. Revenues have increased tremendously, as have labor costs,” an executive summary for UNLV’s Las Vegas Strip employment data stated.“Yet, in general, increases in revenue have outpaced increases in payroll: casino resort employees produced proportionally more revenue now than they did in the past, both in absolute terms and as a ratio of payroll to revenues.”
In 1990, there were a total of 68,000 casino workers in Vegas and they took in 36.1% of the revenue. Over the past three decades, nine more casinos have come up in the map of Vegas and while the number of casino workers has increased by 30,000 now, the revenue share is down 16%.
The Las Vegas Strip is expected to get a big boost once the Raiders play their home games in the Sin City. According to a local Nevada report, the NFL team in Las Vegas would bring in roughly 400,000 more people to the city annually. This would generate $620 Million in annual economic activity.