Las Vegas Sands No Longer Interested in Osaka Casino

Most of the top US casino companies are pushing hard to open a casino-resort in Japan. For months, many of these companies have expressed interest in launching a casino in Osaka. In an unexpected turn of events, Las Vegas Sands has announced that it’s no longer interested in this city.

Osaka Japan Street View

Japan is expected to be one of the most lucrative new casino markets in the world. Now is a great time to look at why so many companies are working to operate here. We’ll also talk about the Sands’ decision to stay out of Osaka.

Japan Expected to be the World’s Next Major Casino Market

Historically speaking, Japan has been fiercely against the gambling industry. For decades, the only real form of wagering allowed here was Mahjong. Traditional casino-style gaming was strictly prohibited.

This includes online gambling, as well. Japanese lawmakers have cracked down on the internet gambling industry. The government blocks all foreign gambling sites from operating in the country. Anyone caught gambling over the internet here faces heavy fines and potential jail time.

Fortunately, the government is changing its stance on land-based casino gambling. In July of 2018, lawmakers in this country approved a bill to allow three “integrated resorts” to open. The casinos here must include a wide range of non-gambling amenities for guests. Before any casinos can open, cities in Japan must bid for the right to host one.

Several cities have already expressed interest in having a casino. Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka are three of the top choices right now. Interestingly, Las Vegas Sands is claiming that it’s no longer interested in launching a casino in Osaka.

Las Vegas Sands is Staying Away From Osaka

Osaka has been at the top of many gaming operators lists when it comes to potential casino sites. Officials here have announced that they will officially bid for casino hosting rights. Many companies, including MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts, have expressed interest in launching a new integrated resort here.

Las Vegas Sands is now choosing to avoid this city. Instead, the company will focus on other cities including Yokohama and Tokyo. It’s an interesting development, as the Sands was one of the first companies that pushed for a launch in Osaka.

CEO Sheldon Adelson gave a quick statement to the media about the switch. According to the Las Vegas Sands official, other cities offer more lucrative opportunities for the company.

Adelson claims that his company wants to “target new development opportunities that allow us to maintain our industry-leading returns on invested capital — and we think an investment in Tokyo or Yokohama gives us the best opportunity to do exactly that.”

Las Vegas Sands has engaged in talks with Osaka politicians for years. It’s a major surprise to see this company deciding to change its tune. Is Yokohama the main target now?

Yokohama Announced Bid to Host Japanese Casino

Yokohama is the second-most populous city in Japan. For months, politicians in this city maintained that they were not interested in opening a casino. Many residents here feared that opening a casino would increase crime and gambling addiction.

City officials are now backtracking. This week, Mayor Fukimo Hayashi announced that the city is officially asking for the government’s permission to open a casino.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to achieve growth and development, we need [an] IR,” she said. 

Las Vegas Sands isn’t the only company now pushing to open a casino in Yokohama. MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts are now looking at this city as a potential casino location, as well.

As we mentioned earlier, only three casino licenses will be handed out here. Revenue from the casino industry is expected to total $20 billion a year. Some now believe that in time, Japan could overtake Macau as Asia’s top gambling destination.

There’s a lot going on here. The first Japanese casino isn’t expected to open until 2025. Make sure to stay tuned for more news on Japan’s gambling industry over the next few months!

Sports Betting in Oregon Set to Launch on August 27th

Another state is officially set to allow sports betting. It’s been confirmed that sports betting in Oregon is launching at the Chinook Winds Casino on August 27th. It’s great news for sports fans throughout the state.

Oregon State Sign

More US states are beginning to embrace the sports betting industry. Today, we’re going to look at the current set of casino and sports gambling laws in Oregon. We’ll also talk about the state’s decision to allow sports betting. Let’s get started!

Gambling Laws in Oregon, Explained

Oregon is thought of as one of the most liberal states in the US. Over the past few decades, lawmakers here have embraced most forms of gambling. Casino-style gambling was legalized in 1992. Today, there are nine land-based casinos in the state, all of which are operated by Native American Tribes.

Sports betting has taken longer to open up here. Oregon is one of the states that was grandfathered into the Federal ban on sports gambling in the early 90s. For decades, the only state legally allowed to offer sports betting in the US was Nevada. This changed in May of 2018 when the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA.

Once this happened, every state had the ability to set laws on the sports gambling industry. Many different states quickly presented sports gambling legislation, including Oregon, which presented a bill to legalize the industry in 2019. Sports betting in Oregon is now legal and is set to launch in a few days.

Unfortunately, Oregon’s laws on internet gambling are restrictive. This is one of the few states that states it’s illegal to accept payments from internet gambling websites. Many analysts feel these laws don’t apply to online casinos in Oregon, as they are based in other countries. Hope is that online casino gambling will become regulated here within the next few years.

Sports Betting in Oregon is Coming to the Chinook Winds Casino

Lawmakers in Oregon realize the huge revenue earning potential from the sports gambling industry. Many states with legal sports betting markets are earning millions of dollars a month from this industry. Politicians here were quick to approve the sports gambling bill presented earlier this year and have been working on plans to officially launch it.

Starting on August 27th, Oregon sports fans can finally begin making wagers on their favorite teams and players. The Chinook Winds Casino, located in Lincoln City, is the first gaming establishment to offer sports betting odds. Over the next several months, more of the land-based casinos in this state are set to begin operating sportsbooks, as well.

Will Roberston, director of casino operations at Chinook Casino, expects the new sportsbook to be a major hit with Oregonians.

“We’re expecting it to be pretty busy,” he said. “There may be lines to get your bets in.”

Interestingly, Oregon is also preparing to launch a state-run online sports betting platform through the lottery. The goal was to have the app up and running by the start of the 2019/2020 NFL season. Based on what’s being said by state officials, this isn’t likely to happen.

Oregon Sports Betting Lottery Gets Delayed

Part of the new sports betting laws in Oregon allow the state to run a lottery that offers sports betting. The lottery will launch an app that’s available throughout the state. Unlike the sportsbook at Chinook Casino, this app will not allow players to bet on NCAA games.

It seems unlikely that this app will be ready by the start of this year’s NFL season. Based on numerous reports, the app won’t launch until mid-September. Lottery spokesman Matt Shelby confirmed this to the media this week.

“It’ will likely be two, three weeks into the season,” Shelby said. “Testing is going fine.”

Shelby also commented on the reason that the app is being delayed. He claims that the lottery needs more time to design interfaces between the games and different payment technologies developed in recent years. Fortunately, online sports betting in Oregon will be completely available for the majority of the football season.

Sports fans in Oregon can begin placing bets on their favorite teams next week. In time, every state may begin offering legal sports gambling options. Make sure to stay tuned for more updates on US sports gambling law changes over the next few weeks!

Synergy Blue Announces Relocation to Las Vegas

One of the top arcade-style casino game creation companies in the US is officially changing its headquarters. Officials at Synergy Blue have confirmed that the company has moved into Las Vegas. Hope is that the games that this company creates gain popularity inside the city’s top casinos.

Famous Las Vegas Sign

The move to Las Vegas makes total sense. Las Vegas remains the country’s biggest and most profitable gambling hub. Let’s look at what this company creates, and why it’s making the move to Vegas this year.

About Synergy Blue

The US online casino industry is booming right now. Several states have outright legalized internet casino gambling and several more have legislation pending to allow this form of gambling. As a result, several companies have been established to create virtual slot games.

Synergy Blue is one of the leading skill-based virtual casino game operators. This company has created several popular casino games over the past few years that are beginning to generate serious buzz in the gambling community. Much of this is due to the HAWG system that the company has created.

The HAWG (Hybrid, Arcade, Wager-based Gaming) system blends chance and skill-based games into a fun arcade-style game. The simple mechanics of these games appeal to both old and new casino gamblers. They are also legal throughout most of the country.

Unsurprisingly, this company has established a serious presence in Las Vegas, Nevada. Officials at the company have confirmed that they’re moving from their previous headquarters in Palm Desert, California to Las Vegas.

Why Relocate to Las Vegas?

Las Vegas is the largest and most profitable gambling industry in the United States. Surprisingly, land-based casino lobbyists have stopped the state from making internet casino gambling legal. Despite this, many online casino companies have established headquarters here to better connect with members of the gaming industry.

Back in March, The Nevada Gaming Commission granted Synergy Blue a manufacturing and distribution license. This, along with the ability to better connect with partners, has led the company to officially relocate to Las Vegas. Spokesman Max Broburg recently commented on the move to the media.

“Over the past year, we’d been spending more and more time in Las Vegas, so it made sense to relocate,” he said. “This move will allow us to be closer to clients, partners and the talent pool we need to support company growth.”

A move to Las Vegas is expected to be huge for this company. The casino industry continues to evolve and more land-based casinos in Vegas are beginning to embrace arcade-style slot games.

Las Vegas Remains the Country’s Top Casino Hub

It’s been a strange year for Las Vegas casinos. Revenue earnings have fluctuated here throughout most of the year, yet earnings appear to be up heading into 2019’s fourth quarter. Even with the revenue fluctuations, this city’s casinos continue to bring in more money than those located anywhere else.

Georg Washington, CEO of Synergy Energy, believes that the move into Las Vegas is necessary for the company to expand.

“As the industry evolves, and skill-influenced games continue to gain traction, we found it necessary to be closer to our clients and the industry,” Washington said. Our move to Vegas is another way of showing our dedication to establishing best practices and securing mutually beneficial relationships with both the casinos and their future patrons.”

Employees are now working inside of a temporary office in Las Vegas. Officials claim that the permanent office, located near Sunset Road and South Durango Drive, will open in mid-September. The company will continue to hire locally over the next six to twelve months.

Hope is that the company’s games make a big splash in major Las Vegas casinos. We’ll need to wait and see how much the relocation to Las Vegas helps the company grow over the next few years. Make sure to stay tuned for updates over the next few months!

Resorts World Catskills is Officially Selling to Avoid Bankruptcy

The biggest casino in upstate New York is officially getting new owners. Empire Resorts, which runs Resorts World Catskills, has confirmed that the casino is being taken over by investors who hold a majority of the company’s stock. It’s an interesting development for New York, which is in the middle of revamping its gambling industry. Flag Of New York

Many gambling analysts predicted that Resorts World Catskills would be sold. Today, we’re looking at what’s happening in New York’s casino scene, and what this sale means for the casino moving forward. Let’s get into it!

New York’s New Gambling Laws, Explained

For many years, New York had very restrictive laws on the gambling industry. Casino gambling was banned here until 1988 when the government passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Lawmakers in New York began allowing Native American Tribes to operate casinos in the state, most of which opened in the Upstate New York area.

In 2013, New York passed the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act. This allowed for commercial casinos, or casinos not operated by tribes, to open in the state. Four of these casinos are now operating here, including the Resorts World Catskills.

New York has been against the sports betting industry for years. Governor Anthony Cuomo even worked to ban daily fantasy sports, which are considered a game of skill in most parts of the country. Recently, however, sports gambling in New York was legalized.

Efforts to make sports betting legal in New York have been going on since PASPA was struck down in May of 2018. In June of this year, lawmakers agreed to a set of new regulations that allow sports betting to take place inside casinos. Several New York casinos now offer sports betting and several more are set to open sportsbooks over the next few months.

Unfortunately, several major casinos in this state have struggled to generate revenue this year. The biggest casino in Upstate New York is now changing hands.

Resorts World Catskills is Officially Changing Hands

Casino competition in the Upstate New York area is fierce. Just about all of the state’s casinos are located here, some of which are proving to be more successful than others. The largest one has faced continual losses over the past several years and is now officially being taken over.

Resorts World Catskills was operated by Empire Resorts, one of the top casino operators in the New York area. This publicly-traded company lost $73 million in the first six months of 2019. It has also accumulated more than $400 in total debt. As a result, it’s selling some of its largest properties.

Investors from Malaysia currently own 86% of Empire Resorts. On Monday, officials at Empire Resorts announced it was selling the rest of its stock to the investors for $9.74 per share. The official sale will finalize at the end of the year’s fourth quarter, after which Empire Resorts will become a privately owned company.

The Catskills casino failed to meet all revenue projections after its opening in 2018. Let’s look at what this all means for the future of the casino.

Future of Catskills Casino and New York’s Gaming Industry

The sale of the casino in Catskills isn’t the only major casino handover taking place in New York. Last week, Del Lago announced that 50% of its casino was being sold to investors in California. The Del Lago casino has also failed to meet revenue projections set by the state when it opened.

It’s unclear exactly what will happen with Resorts World Catskills. This casino is now changing hands. Hopefully, they work to revamp the gaming establishment and increase its revenue earnings. Most agree that sports betting can help bring more money to these New York gaming venues.

Sports betting has proved extremely profitable for many states. New Jersey is earning millions of dollars each month through this industry. There’s also a chance that lawmakers in New York decide to regulate internet casino gambling.

There are several great online casinos in New York. Most of them offer a huge range of great gaming options. Unfortunately, the state works hard to push these casino websites away. Regulation of this industry will likely help the land-based casinos bring in more money.

Make sure to stay tuned for more updates over the next few weeks. We’ll continue to provide information on the state of New York’s casino industry!

Online Sportsbooks in Nevada May Be in For a Change

Nevada is considered to be the top sports betting destination in the United States. Almost all of the state’s casinos offer sports betting platforms, some of which are online. This week, gaming analysts began calling for online sportsbooks in Nevada to change their registration process.

Nevada Sign On Highway

With growing competition all over the country, Nevada is looking for any way to increase their gambling revenue. Changing the way people sign up to the state’s internet sportsbooks might just work. Let’s look at what’s being discussed.

Nevada’s Online Sports Betting Industry Continues to Grow

For decades, Nevada was the only US state that was legally allowed to offer sports betting. This changed in May of 2018 when the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA. Today, every state can set its own laws on the sports gambling industry.

Several states including New Jersey and Pennsylvania now have successful sports betting markets. Despite this, Nevada’s revenue from sports gambling continues to grow. During the first four months of 2019, sports betting revenue in this state reached $104.62, up 22% from the same time period last year.

A month-by-month revenue breakdown looks like this.

  • January: $14,626,000 (-41.7%)
  • February: $35,816,000 (+235.1%)
  • March: $32,523,000 (-4.7%)
  • April: $21,656,000 (+32.6%)

It’s clear that even with the rise of sports betting around the country, Nevada continues to generate money from this industry. Interestingly, some of the top gambling analysts are now calling for online sportsbooks in Nevada to change.

Registration Process for Online Sportsbooks in Nevada Should Change

As we’ve already mentioned, many states now allow sports betting. Several of these states have also legalized online and mobile sports betting. Nevada is one of these states, yet the registration process for these websites is not quite as simple as it is in other parts of the country.

Nevada made online sports betting legal in 2010. Here, individuals looking to make sports wagers online need to register at a land-based casino. It’s significantly more difficult than in states like New Jersey, where gamblers simply verify their identity and enter their credit card details.

There are many that feel online sportsbooks in Nevada are at risk of failing if the state doesn’t change the way that players register. This is especially true as more states begin to legalize and regulate internet sports betting.

A 2017 report from Eilers & Krejcik claims that 71% of individuals in the US would rather gamble through unregulated gambling sites based in other countries than visit a local casino to place sports wagers. Gambling analyst Chris Grove believes it’s time for Nevada to change its current laws on the online sports betting industry.

“Las Vegas needs to be able to offer a sports betting product that is equal to, if not better, than what they can do at home,” he said. “If the remote regulation stays in place, Las Vegas will have a materially worse sports betting experience than most of the rest of the U.S. If that’s the case, it’s going to be difficult for Las Vegas to capture all of the upside from sports betting being legalized across the rest of the U.S.”

NV Gaming Control Board Doesn’t Seem Concerned

Based on what’s being said, it doesn’t look as if the Nevada Gaming Control Board is overly concerned with most people’s opinion about the state’s online sports betting system. Last year, lawmakers in this state briefly talked about changing the way registrations work for online sportsbooks in Nevada, yet nothing came from it.

Sandra Morgan, chairwoman of the NV Gaming Control Board, commented on the internet sports betting industry to the media this week.

“I do think we have a great and stable statutory and regulatory scheme, but there’s always room for improvement, and to be able to modernize regulations that have been in place for a very long time is definitely going to be a focus of mine,” she said.

Analysts believe that the current set of laws are in place to drive people into land-based casinos in Las Vegas. This city relies on casino gambling to generate revenue. Forcing individuals to register in these casinos in order to play at online sportsbooks in Nevada is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this.

Perhaps in the next few years, lawmakers in the state will realize that the system needs to change. Make sure to stay tuned for updates to Nevada’s online sports betting laws over the next few months!

Japan is the Main Target for Most of the Top US Casino Companies

Last summer, lawmakers in Japan passed a bill that allows for three casinos to open. It’s the first time in history that Japan has legalized traditional casino gambling. This week, several of the top US casino companies began pouring on the pressure to start operating here.

Flag Of Japan

Most analysts agree that Japan is one of the most lucrative new casino markets in the world. It makes sense that so many major gambling operators are working to establish a presence here. Which of these companies is most likely to be granted a gaming license?

Japanese Cities Lobby For the Right to Host Casino Resort

In July of 2018, Japan’s Parliament officially approved casinos to begin operating in the country. Under the new laws, three “integrated resorts” can open here. These casino-resorts must include several non-gambling options including hotels, shopping centers, and conference rooms.

Cities in Japan must formally receive government approval to open a casino. First, however, these cities need public approval. Several cities are already working for the right to host one of the three integrated resorts.

Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has announced that she plans to lobby for a casino. This city is the third-largest in Japan and several of the top US casino companies have already requested to open an integrated resort here. Despite some residents here raising concerns over gambling addiction issues and crime associated with casinos, Fumiko is going ahead with the resort bidding process.

Osaka is another city that’s pushing hard to open a casino. MGM Resorts International has publicly stated that it hopes to begin operating here. Japan Today recently discussed Wynn Resorts new push to open a gambling establishment in this city, as well.

Top US Casino Companies Increase Pressure to Open Integrated Resorts

Japan is taking its casino regulations very seriously. The casino bill was passed in 2018, yet it’s unlikely that any casino-resorts will officially begin operating here until the mid-2020s. This isn’t stopping the biggest casino companies in the US from throwing their name into the mix.

Last July, members of Wynn Resorts held a seminar in Everett, Massachusetts to discuss the casino industry with members of the Japanese media. This city is home to Wynn’s newest resort, the Encore Boston Harbor. Chris Gordon, president of Wynn Resorts Development Japan, spoke to the media about his company’s plan to invest back into the Japanese community.

“We hope to get involved in projects in such major cities as Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama,” he said.

Gordon also claims that casino-resorts in this city will create as many as 16,000 new jobs. The Wynn’s official also wanted to inform the media about the recent approval of casinos from Japanese students at Harvard University, located just miles away.

MGM Resorts and Las Vegas Sands are also working hard to break into Osaka. These companies are teaming up with local Japanese businesses to help lobby in parliament.

Which Company Will Receive a Casino License Here First?

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess. For a time, it seemed as if MGM Resorts International had the best chance. This company gained a sponsorship with the MLB during the season’s opening games in Tokyo. The marketing push gave MGM great exposure in the country.

Wynn Resorts is also gaining traction in Japan. By inviting members of the Japanese media to a seminar, it gives the company free advertising. The success of the Encore Boston Harbor hotel-casino is also likely to help their chances in this county.

Some gaming analysts feel that Las Vegas Sands is most-likely to receive the first gaming license in Japan. This is one of the top US casino companies operating today, and already has deep ties in Japan. Sheldon Adelson, CEO of LVS, sold the Comdex technology trade show to Japanese business conglomerate Softbank in 1995.

Yokohama is set to announce its candidacy to host an integrated resort this week. Smaller cities such as Hokkaido are also being targeted for a new casino. Make sure to stay tuned for more news on the Japanese casino industry over the next few months!

Slot Machines in Illinois Airports Could Bring State Millions

Last month, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a new capital plan that allows for six new casinos to open in the state. This week, a study was released that indicates slot machines in Illinois airports could bring the state millions in additional revenue each year. It’s exciting news for lawmakers here looking to cash in on the gambling industry.Slot Machines Inside A Casino

Today, we’re looking at the details of the recent study on airport slots. We’ll also talk about why many companies are turning down the opportunity to run a casino in the Windy City.

Union Gaming Analytics Releases Study on Illinois Casinos

Ever since the recent capital plan was passed, casino companies and politicians have discussed the feasibility of a Chicago casino. Illinois has some of the highest tax rates on the gambling industry and as a result, several major casino operators are staying away from here. Union Gaming Analytics recently conducted a study on how much money slot machines in Illinois airports could make.

According to this group, it’s a substantial amount of money. In the 50-page feasibility report, Union Gaming states that slots at O’Hare and Midway airports could earn upwards of $37 million every year. This revenue figure is based on having 500 slot machines in both of these airports.

It’s a surprising figure to many. As of now, only airports in Las Vegas and Reno offer slot machine gambling. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania recently passed legislation to allow gambling in airports, as well, yet none have officially begun offering slot games.

Union Gaming Analytics claims that these slots would function, “namely as an option for some travelers to pass time.” The group believes that each slot machine could earn about $200 per day, amounting to $36.5 million over a year.

Who Would Own and Operate the Slot Machines in Illinois Airports?

Finding reputable casino operators to break into the Illinois market hasn’t been easy. As we’ve already mentioned, this state has some of the highest tax rates on casinos in the entire country. Under the new capital plan, casinos are facing a 72% tax rate on all revenue earned.

As you might expect, some of the top US casino operators are claiming that Chicago, and Illinois as a whole, is not a lucrative market. Las Vegas Sands has already claimed they are not interested in opening a Chicago casino. MGM Resorts echoed that statement.

As of now, the plan is for whatever company chooses to run the new casino in Chicago to operate airport slot machine gambling, as well. The state’s gambling expansion bill allows for the Chicago casino operators to offer 4,000 slots. Any of these gambling machines added to airports will count against this figure.

Even if the Chicago casino isn’t successful, the airport’s slots will be, according to Union Gaming.

“As such, greater total revenues and taxes would be achieved by [allocating] a few hundred slot machines to Midway and O’Hare airports,” the study concluded. 

Online Casino Gambling Continues to Grow in Chicago

Lawmakers in Illinois are clearly interested in earning more revenue from the gambling industry. Sports betting was recently legalized here and six new casinos are set to open up over the next few years. Interestingly, there hasn’t been much of a push to regulate online casino gambling in the state.

Today, only three states have regulated internet casino gambling markets. New Jersey controls one of the most lucrative internet gambling markets in the country with millions being generated each month.

Fortunately for fans of gambling here, there are still a large number of great online casinos in Illinois currently available. These websites generally offer just as many gaming options as the country’s top-land based casinos. They also provide a range of safe, quick payment options.

It’s important to note that these websites are not regulated by the state. Based on the way things are going here, this may change in the near future.

Slot machines in Illinois airports may be right around the corner. First, however, Illinois politicians will need to approve an operator to take control of the proposed casino in Chicago. Make sure to stay tuned for more updates on Illinois’ gambling industry over the next few weeks!

Hard Rock Las Vegas is Closing For Eight Months

Heads up to everyone visiting Las Vegas in 2020! The Hard Rock Las Vegas is officially set to close for eight months as it’s rebranded into a Virgin hotel. Richard Bosworth, CEO of the Hard Rock/Virgin Hotels partnership, confirmed the news on social media. Hard Rock Guitar Logo

It’s both disappointing and exciting news for this venue. As of now, the plan is for the new Virgin hotel in Las Vegas to open by January of 2021. Let’s look at what’s happening here.

Virgin Hotels Acquires the Hard Rock Las Vegas

Hard Rock International currently owns and operates 25 hotels and 12 casinos around the world. It’s run by the Seminole Tribe of Florida with headquarters based in Florida, where a brand new Hard Rock casino is set to open.

One of this company’s most notable hotel-casinos is located just off the Las Vegas Strip.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas opened in 1994. It features 30,000 square feet of gaming space, several popular nightclubs, and six different restaurants. Not many gaming analysts predicted that this casino would go for sale anytime soon.

Interestingly, Virgin Hotels and several investment groups announced that they had acquired the Hard Rock Las Vegas in December of 2018. It’s the first time that Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, is breaking into the gambling industry. Branson and the investors announced that $200 million would be spent to “reimagine” this popular hotel.

The initial plan was for the Las Vegas hotel to close for four months while renovations and rebranding took place. Now, that timetable is being pushed back. The Las Vegas Review-Journal has confirmed that the Hard Rock in Las Vegas will close for eight months.

Hard Rock is Officially Closing for Most of 2020

As we just mentioned, there was talk that the Hard Rock would close its doors for four months while the 8-month rebranding process took place. Late last week, Richard Bosworth announced that the hotel is now being closed for eight months. Bosworth made an official statement on social media about the change.

“We determined that a phased closing of four months, followed by a total closure of four months was not efficient from a construction process nor could we provide a hospitality service experience our guests deserve,” he said. “Therefore an approximate eight-month closure would be most efficient and ensure a timely opening prior to January 2021.”

Construction on this hotel-casino may be completed by October of 2020. To play it safe, Virgin Hotels is claiming that a January 2021 reopening will take place. We’ll get a more clear picture of the opening date over the next few months.

Fortunately, shows scheduled to take place here this year will go on as planned. Several major artists are scheduled to appear at this hotel including Mary J. Blige (August 24th), Brian Wilson and the Zombies (August 31st), and Stone Temple Pilots (October 6th).

Hard Rock Employees Urged to Work for Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas

Many workers at Hard Rock Las Vegas immediately began voicing their concerns over the Virgin acquisition. Generally speaking, when a hotel-casino is taken over by a new company, there are lay-offs. Virgin Hotels was quick to assure Hard Rock employees in Las Vegas that their jobs are secure.

The hotel’s 1650 workers are the target of Virgin Hotel’s “Stick Around And Come Back” program. Employees still working for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas when it closes to the public next year will be paid a retention bonus in a lump sum.

Richard Bosworth is making it clear that his company wants to see these workers return. He claims that these employees will not be required to interview for the jobs they held before the hotel closed.

“Those employees will all be recalled,” he said. “The ownership group is paying for them to return, and we want them to return.”

Make sure to stay tuned for updates on the situation over the next few months!

Palms Casino Resort Unveils Major Art Showcase

In May of 2016, Station Casinos purchased the Palms Casino Resort for $313 million. Almost immediately, this company began investing into renovations of the popular Las Vegas gambling establishment. These renovations are now nearly complete and several incredible pieces of artwork can now be found throughout the hotel.

Artist Painting

Today, we’re looking at some of the pieces of art on display at the Palms. We’ll also look at some of the recent issues this casino and its owners have faced this year. There’s a lot of information to unpack!

Art Showcase Now on Display at Palms Casino Resort

Over the past three years, Station Casinos has invested more than $690 million into renovations of the Palms. Portions of the renovated hotel began opening in 2018. The full renovation is slated to finish within the next few months.

Part of this renovation was adding art pieces throughout the hotel. Jon Gray, general manager of the Palms Casino & Hotel, gave a statement to the media about the addition of world-renowned art pieces here.

“Guests are brought on a visual journey from the minute they walk in the door and will find special touches at every corner, from our gaming felts down to the mini-bar,” he said. “We have curated a collection that is bold, relevant to today’s traveler and most of all a truly interactive experience.”

Below are just a few of the incredible pieces of artwork now being showcased here.

Palms – By Adam Parker Smith 

Brooklyn-based artist Adam Parker Smith has taken his unique balloon-style art to the Palms Casino Resort. He’s created a “Palms” sculpture directly at the hotel’s porte-cochere. Guests will be greeted with this incredible piece over a beautiful living greenery wall.

Pearl Theater – Felipe Pantone

One of the Palm’s most popular bars is getting a major upgrade thanks to Argentinian-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone. He’s created an incredible 80s-themed piece of artwork over the Pearl Theater for all visitors to enjoy. It’s a vintage piece that’s truly one of a kind.

Lamborghini ‘Twin Turbo’ Countach – Benedict Radcliffe

Perhaps the most impressive new piece of artwork at the Palms is the Lamborghini ‘Twin Turbo’ Countach by Benedict Radcliffe. This artist is known around the world for creating incredible pieces of art out of just wire. He’s built a Lamborghini sculpture in his signature style that’s located directly in the hotel’s valet.

These are just a few of the amazing pieces of art now being displayed at this casino-resort. For a full list of the artwork here, check out this piece by the LA Weekly.

Las Vegas Culinary Union Continues to Fight With Palms Resort

It hasn’t been a great year for Station Casinos. As we mentioned earlier, this company purchased the Palms in 2016. In April of 2018, 84% of workers at this casino voted to unionize.

Station Casinos has been largely anti-union over the years. As you’d probably expect, they’ve refused to negotiate the worker’s right to unionize, causing some issues with Las Vegas-based unions. As a result, the LV Culinary Union has ramped up its fight against both the Palms and Station Casinos.

Not long ago, workers decided to picket outside the Palms Casino. Hundreds of workers have taken part in these protests, demanding that negotiations finally take place.

Even some of the most prominent politicians in the country are getting involved. Just last week, Bernie Sanders called on Station Casinos to give in to the workers’ demands. It’s a complicated issue that’s likely to drag on for weeks.

For now, the Palms is doing business as usual. The hotel’s renovations are nearly complete and some of the best pieces of art are now on display here. If you’re in the Las Vegas area, feel free to check them out!

DOJ has Officially Filed an Appeal to the Wire Act Ruling

Online gambling is growing more popular throughout the United States. Several states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware have legalized internet casino gambling. Many now allow online sports betting, as well. This week, the Department of Justice officially filed an appeal to the Department of Justice’s recent Wire Act ruling.Appeal Written On Paper

It’s disappointing, yet not entirely surprising news. The DOJ had until August 19th to file this appeal. It’s clear that they’re ready to continue pushing the opinion that they made back in November. Let’s look at exactly what’s happening here.

DOJ Files New Opinion on the Wire Act

The Interstate Wire Act of 1961, also known as the Federal Wire Act, is a US federal law that prohibits placing wagers using interstate transmissions or wire communications that cross state lines. Initially, this law was set in place to crack down on organized crime. Back in the 50s and 60s, crime groups would use gambling as a way to launder their money.

The Wire Act was eventually changed to apply to online gambling, as well. For years, internet gambling that crossed state lines was prohibited. In 2011, under the Obama administration, the DOJ ruled that the Wire Act applied only to sports betting.

As a result, several states began offering forms of online gambling. New Hampshire currently allows Mega Millions lottery tickets to be purchased online. This lottery is a multi-state lottery, meaning it would have been illegal before the DOJ’s 2011 Wire Act opinion.

In November of 2018, things took a turn for the worst. The DOJ reversed it’s Wire Act ruling, claiming that all forms of online gambling are illegal. States with legal internet gambling options quickly fought back in the courts. The DOJ isn’t giving up, though.

District Court States that 2011 Wire Act Ruling is Correct

New Hampshire was one of the first states to fight against the DOJ’s most recent opinion on the Wire Act. This state claims that it would force their online lottery operations to shut down. This would cost the state millions of dollars in revenue each year.

On June 3rd of this year, US District Court Judge of New Hampshire Judge Paul Barbadoro stated that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. Other forms of gambling, including online lottery sales and internet poker, are perfectly legal.

With the court’s decision, the 2018 DOJ opinion was essentially shut down. States could still offer forms of online gambling that crossed state lines. Barbadoro gave the Department of Justice until August 19th to file an official appeal to the new Wire Act ruling.

That appeal is now being made. Today, the DOJ has officially filed an appeal against New Hampshire. The courts will now be forced to hear the DOJ’s side of the story and make another ruling on the matter. One of the country’s top online gambling trade groups is quickly voicing its disapproval.

iDEA Growth Comments on DOJ’s Decision to Appeal

It’s clear that both states and online gambling companies are displeased with the DOJ’s decision to continue fighting this issue. Internet gambling is proving to be extremely lucrative for many states, including New Jersey, which is experiencing unprecedented rises in its gambling revenue. Today, the top online gambling trade group in the US, iDEA Growth, began calling on the DOJ to drop its appeal.

This group claims the appeal is part of a political move. Jeff Ifrah, founder of iDEA Growth, released an official statement on the matter.

“The Department’s action, while hardly unexpected, is certainly unwarranted,” he said. “DOJ generally files appeals of adverse district court decisions as a matter of course.  We hope that, rather than engaging in a protracted, expensive and ultimately unsuccessful legal fight, the Department will take this opportunity to negotiate a settlement which will focus the Wire Act and DOJ’s enforcement resources on the right targets – the unlicensed illegal offshore Internet gambling operators who do not create jobs or tax revenue in the U.S. and do not appropriately protect consumers.”

Ifrah certainly has a point. It’s unlikely that the DOJ appeal will be successful. The New Hampshire court’s Wire Act ruling was made with careful consideration. Instead of continuing a legal battle, Ifrah argues, the DOJ should focus on working to better regulate the US casino websites that are based in other countries.

It’s an interesting time for the US online gambling industry. Make sure to stay tuned for more updates on the situation over the next few weeks!