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The global gaming and gambling industry continues to move to newer pastures, with constant wheels of change and development.
In the latest story doing the rounds, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is rumored to be shifted to the upcoming Caesars Forum convention hall post completion in 2020. While Caesars Entertainment denied this early in August, fresh reports by a Las Vegas blog have claimed insider information that the company is giving a serious thought to making this move.
In Nepal, the Silver Heritage Group that already runs a casino resort, the Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa and operates another casino in Kathmandu has now resolved issues with its Jhapa casino resort project and entered a minority equity interest agreement with its local partner for the project.
Massachusetts saw its first true Las Vegas-style casino, the $1 Billion MGM Springfield featuring a 23-table poker room open its doors on August 24 and popular US sports bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings has indicated intentions to enter sports betting.
Not even a month has passed since Caesars’ Entertainment denied shifting the World Series of Poker (WSOP) venue from Rio to the upcoming $375 Million Caesars Forum Convention Center, and the rumors have re-surfaced again.
VitalVegas, a Las Vegas-based blog had first reported the rumor in its report dated August 3, drawing a denial from the WSOP. However early this week, the blog has reiterated the rumor, claiming that insider reports confirm that Caesars was planning to sell the Rio casino hotel where WSOP is currently hosted.
“Previously shared Rio sale rumor looks like the real deal,” VitalVegas blog stated.“Caesars highly motivated to cut her loose, insider confirms three viable entities circling. Aftermath of sale will include move of WSOP to Caesars Forum convention center, despite denials.”
Stories of WSOP moving to a new location keep doing the rounds from time to time. In 2013, PokerStars had claimed that Caesars had offered to sell it both the Rio and the WSOP brand. Earlier in 2010, rumors of a potential Rio sale at an estimated $500 Million popped up.
The WSOP was first hosted at Binion’s in 1970 and moved to the Rio in 2005 after the brand was taken over by Harrah’s Entertainment, presently known as Caesars.
Caesars Forum is a state-of-art convention center being built over 300,000 square foot slated to open in 2020 and will be a much bigger venue to host the WSOP than the Rio convention center that covers 160,000 square feet of ‘flexible’ meeting space.
If the rumors turn out to be true, as claimed by VitalVegas, the close proximity of Caesars Forum to the Las Vegas strip, Harrah’s, LINQ and the LINQ Promenade could work towards increasing participation in poker’s biggest annual festival.
The Silver Heritage Group will be building its second casino resort in Nepal over a huge piece of land in Jhapa. After entering a minority equity interest agreement with a Nepalese partner, the company has received approval for the same.
Spread over 18 acres, the new resort will be built at the cost of $3.2 Million. Silver Heritage had failed in its first attempt to acquire land in Jhapa earlier this year, despite making a $2.8 Million deposit with a land vendor. The company has now reached a minority equity interest agreement with the original land vendor in Jhapa, opening doors for reviving its ambitious plans in Nepal.
In its submission to the Australian Securities Exchange, the group that operates and manages casinos in Nepal and Vietnam furnished details on the project.
“Given the company’s focus on cash management, it has agreed to sell a circa 20 percent interest in the Jhapa land-owning entity to its local partner Mr. Sanchit Shrestha, a transaction which both generates the required capital to compete the purchase while also reducing its outstanding supplier payables,”the statement read.
In December 2017, the group launched gaming operations in its first Nepal based resort, the Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa, which operates on a capital budget of $5.15 Million. The company also operates a smaller casino, the Millionaire’s Club & Casino in Kathmandu.
While the purchase for its second casino project is yet to be registered with Nepal’s department of Industry, if all goes well, Nepal may have another premier casino resort functional on its land in the near future.
The first Las Vegas style casino, MGM Springfield opened shop in Massachusetts on August 24. Built at the approximate cost of $1 Billion over a period of seven years, the casino is located 80 miles west of Boston and has 125,000 square feet of gaming space, including a 23-table poker room. It is also equipped with 2,550 slot machines, 120 gaming tables and a high-limit VIP gaming lounge.
In the past, players in the Bay state have had to travel to casinos or charity poker rooms in neighboring states to find games other than home games. After the lawmakers approved gambling facilities in the state in 2011, in 2015, a slots-only casino opened in Plainville.
The MGM Springfield management shared under-construction and after-completion photographs of the project on its official Twitter handle.
Seven years in the making and we are loving this new view. What do you think of our new look? pic.twitter.com/vXBzuA8LL8
— MGM Springfield (@MGMSpringfield) August 27, 2018
The MGM Springfield expanded on its plan to build a 20-table poker room by finally opening a 23-table room and is the first in Massachusetts to offer poker. However, it will soon face competition from the Encore Boston Harbor casino being built by Wynn Resorts outside Boston that is slated to feature a 90-table poker room.
It keeps getting better and better for the sports betting industry in the US that after a legal sanction to operate from the U.S. Supreme Court is on the edge of rapid evolution.
Joining the pack of companies entering the sports betting industry is Buffalo Wild Wings, the most popular US sports bar chain that may soon incorporate sportsbook into its restaurants.
The restaurant chain has made it clear that it’s looking for a partner. With a huge presence with outlets in 50 states, a partnership deal by the brand may boost the sports betting industry in a big way.
While the firm hasn’t disclosed specifics on its sportsbook yet, early in August, there were rumors of it entering a marketing partnership with DraftKings, a leading fantasy sports operator. The Buffalo Wild Wings management hasn’t given a clue and has simply stated that the company was “uniquely positioned to leverage sports gaming to enhance the restaurant experience for our guests.”
From investment perspective, Buffalo Wild Wings went private last year for $2.4 billion. However, its entry into sports betting may indirectly boost investor interest in other casino and gaming company stocks.
The Ark Restaurants (ARKR) for instance, runs 20 restaurants, eight of which are in casinos and follow a business model heavily reliant on setting up restaurants in casinos. While sportsbook is unlikely to affect Ark for some time, the company stocks may get more investor attention with Buffalo Wild Wings in the sports betting market.