Red Rock Casino President Passed Away on July 4

Red Rock Resorts

Richard J. Haskins, the president of Red Rock Casino, died on July 4 after a fatal watercraft accident. 

Haskins was spending the weekend on Lake Michigan with his family. The accident happened roughly around 2:00pm on Saturday afternoon. Haskins was traveling westbound in Little Traverse Bay, and at the same time, a 27-foot powerboat, driven by a 77-year old man named James Moffat, was traveling northbound. The boats collided at top speeds.

Immediately following the accident, Haskins was transported to Harbor Springs launch area, where he was pronounced dead by the medical staff. The accident remains under investigation, and very few details have been released yet. It is unknown who is technically at fault for the accident.

Red Rock Casino’s board of directors released this statement in response to Haskins death,

“The entire Station Casinos family mourns this loss. On behalf of our Board of Directors, management team and employees, we extend our deepest sympathies to the Haskins family.”

Red Rock Casinos board of directors will release a plan for Haskins’ replacement sometime in the next couple of days. Right now, they are focused on mourning his death and grieving with his family over their loss.

Haskins has been with the company for over twenty-five years and was an essential part of the business. Frank Fertitta III, Red Rock’s CEO described him in this way,

“He was a trusted advisor, a brilliant strategist, a steady hand in good times and in bad and most important – a friend to all.”

Wrap Up

Red Rock Casino and its staff are mourning the loss of their beloved president, Richard J. Haskins. After twenty-five years with the company, he had earned the respect of many and will be greatly missed.

Whoever is hired to replace him will have big shoes to fill. When more details regarding the future of Red Rock are released, I will be sure to share them with you.

Gold Spike, Corduroy, and More Reopen in Downtown LV

Gold Spike Las VegasDowntown is expanding its available entertainment options. On Wednesday, Gold Spike, downtown’s adult playground, Corduroy, a popular bar known for its music selection, Smashed Pig, a gastropub, and Oak & Ivy, a cocktail bar, reopened.

Gold Spike’s ‘Backyard’ playground is welcoming back groups of no more than five or less per table, serving customers on a first-come, first-served basis with no required minimum. The new hours of operations are from Wednesday through Sunday, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The Smashed Pig will be offering dine-in service, featuring their full food and cocktail menu. Reservations are encouraged. Their new hours of operation are Wednesday through Thursday, from 3-9 p.m., Friday, from 3-11 p.m., Saturday, from 10 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Corduroy bar will be allowing groups of up to five people, to adhere to social distancing guidelines as provided by the CDC. Their new hours of operations as of now, in a similar trend to the other reopened businesses, are from Wednesday through Sunday, 5-11 p.m.

And Oak & Ivy, which is nicknamed downtown’s “Container Park’s bar in a box,” is encouraging guests to make reservations through OpenTable before coming down. Their updated hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday, from noon-8 p.m, and Friday through Saturday, from noon-9 p.m.

Downtown is Slowly but Surely Reopening

The four new downtown re-openings join a list of other downtown properties and the Fremont Experience which reopened last Thursday, June 4.

Ahead of reopening, the D Hotel & Casino’s parking garage was full of guests waiting to get back into the casino to gamble. Only hotel guests were allowed to reenter ahead of the midnight opening.

D Hotel & Casino’s owner, Derek Stevens, led a New Year’s Eve-style countdown to midnight, and the crowd was all for it. And it’s no wonder the pent-up demand was high, with casinos being closed a total of 78 days in the state.

Some things that looked different inside of downtown casinos right now are employees wearing masks, entrants having to undergo a temperature check when coming into the property, and plexiglass barriers on the casino floor. The Gold Nugget, on the other hand, is only taking hotel guests’ temperature at check-in.

It seemed that outside of questions about safety protocols, the most asked questions were if football was coming to come back or not in the sportsbooks.

Overall, it seems the energy downtown is full of excitement and forward-focused on what’s to come.

More Free Parking Options Downtown

Downtown Las Vegas has been doing a few things to encourage tourists and locals back to its streets.

For one, D Hotel & Casino’s owner Stevens gave away 2,000 free one-way flights to Las Vegas in the week leading up to its reopening. It’s no surprise that the flights sold out by the afternoon.

When Nevada entered into Phase 1 of reopening, which allowed for the reopening of dine-in restaurants without operating bars, many staple downtown restaurants started offering sidewalk dining to accommodate guests and make them feel more comfortable in returning.

Now, the city of Las Vegas is taking it a step further by providing new parking amenities alongside the safe reopening of its businesses and casinos.

Beginning June 8, additional convenient parking options have been introduced for those visiting downtown restaurants, attractions, and other businesses.

In partnership with the Downtown Project (DTP), parking is now free for the month of June at downtown LV’s Llama Lot, which is located at 152 N. Ninth St.

Discount for All-Day Parking

Additionally, all-day parking is now 50 percent off at many downtown lots and parking garages if reserved in advance through the ParkWhiz app.

In addition to the discounted and free parking, the city of Las Vegas has also introduced new technology giving patrons touch-free options in their garage transactions, including QR code scanning, using Apple or Google Pay, or waving hands in front of garage sensors instead of physically touching kiosks.

Downtown’s Reopening Came on the Heels of George Floyd Protests

A week before downtown reopened its casinos and retail businesses, it was overrun by protests honoring George Floyd. Downtown became the epicenter of the protests in Las Vegas.

It put businesses in a tough position of whether or not to postpone their re-openings.

Some popular bars in Fremont East district, including the highly-anticipated reopening of Commonwealth, made the decision to postpone their Thursday, June 4 opening after suffering some damage from the riots last Monday night.

But, despite the concerns of the violence, many downtown businesses were in solidarity and support of the protests.

Despite Public Concerns, People Showed Up for Downtown’s Reopening

While the coronavirus pandemic is still active, and protests and riots are still occurring, it didn’t stop people from returning to downtown Las Vegas and the city of Las Vegas to get back into the action.

Trends over how Las Vegas fares over the next few weeks with being reopened will be important in other casino operators deciding to reopen their properties to the public as well. Las Vegas is taking a smart, measure approach to its reopening, reintroducing properties a little at a time to gauge public impact and demand.

So far, so good. There have been no big jumps in daily COVID-19 cases or hospitalizations, and with airfare to Las Vegas being reduced and hotel rates being on the low-end, it’s predicted that Vegas will see many more visitors by the end of June and through July.

We hope that’s the case, as it’ll help springboard Nevada’s economy back into recovery after COVID-19 shuddered the state’s industry workforce.

Because of the coronavirus shutdown, and it being a city built on tourism and gaming, Nevada has topped lists for the highest unemployment percentage in the country for the month of April. Thankfully, with casinos reopening, many casino employees are getting their livelihoods back into full swing.

The “New Normal” for Vegas for A While

Vegas has reopened to a “new normal” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In fact, the new Vegas experience was highlighted in the city’s latest tourism ad that’s describing the new reality as a more “intimate” Las Vegas experience.

So if you’re returning to Las Vegas or you’re new to visiting the city as a whole, what will look different? Well, with social distancing guidelines being considered and implemented all throughout the valley, that will mean a less-crowded Vegas.

Normally, downtown Las Vegas, especially the Fremont Street Experience, is overrun with crowds and people from all walks of life. But now, with confidence in air travel wary, the crowds will likely be a mix of locals and domestic guests, especially visitors from Southern California who are able to simply drive into town to experience the fun.

Many casino properties are only operating at reduced capacity as well, meaning guests will have more space to take in the sights or experience amenities without, hopefully, having to fight to get a reservation in.

Guests can also expect to see casino employees wearing facial masks, and floors riddled with social distancing guideline markers.

Stay Tuned

The 4th of July holiday weekend in Las Vegas this year will be an interesting one to watch. It’s hard to predict how busy it might or might not get, but as things are looking right now, you can probably bet that more people will be heading to town during that time.

In fact, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, the Strip’s two largest casino operators, are planning to open up more resorts in time for the holiday weekend, including Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Aria.

Are you excited that more businesses and casino-hotels are reopening across downtown Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip? Will you be coming into town to visit soon? Share with us below, and be sure to check back for more coverage regarding Las Vegas’ reopening.

Great Deals in Las Vegas Following Their Reopening Last Week

View of Las Vegas MGM Grand and Luxor

Who’s ready to head to Vegas?

Casinos opened for the first time since mid-March just over a week ago. They will be operating at fifty percent occupancy until further notice. Both visitors and employees will have to follow specific safety protocols to ensure coronavirus doesn’t spread throughout the facility. Despite the policy change, thousands of people rushed to the casinos as soon as they opened.

Don’t ever think you can stop gamblers, it just won’t happen!

Deals on Deals

Anyone who has visited Las Vegas in the past week has probably noticed the incredible deals at every corner. When it comes to booking a room at one of the city’s many fabulous hotels, expect to find record low rates.

The Wynn is offering rooms for as low as $150 per night, while the Bellagio has rooms for as low as $125 per night. Other hotels are offering incentives to get you to book your stay like a $100 dining credit or waved parking fees.

The CEO of LW Hospitality Advisors said,

“In Vegas, they need you to pay for the room less to still come in and spend money. They can afford to break even or even lose a little on the room in the hopes that you sit down at the table and drop some money or go to bars or a show.”

That’s how the casinos can get away with putting such a low price tag on their rooms.

Will they lose money in their rooms? Probably! Will they make up for it at the slots and other casino games? That’s certainly the hope.

Casinos are still worried that they may not be doing enough to keep a steady flow of people in and out of the casino though. With unemployment rates higher than they have been in years, people don’t necessarily have the extra money in the budget for a trip to Vegas. We expect to see Vegas casinos continue to use incentives and deals to draw people in. 

Wrap Up

Financially speaking, there’s no better time than the present to visit Las Vegas. Hotel rates are at a record low and they are giving away so many perks to make planning a trip more appealing. Not to mention, since casinos can only operate at a fifty percent occupancy, it will present a unique opportunity to visit the casinos minus the crowds.

If you find yourself with extra money and an urge to travel, Las Vegas could be an excellent choice!

Did you find a great deal in Vegas recently? Leave a comment below and let me know about it!

Boyd Gaming May Only Reopen 7 of its 10 Properties Once Shutdown Ends

California Hotel Las VegasBoyd Gaming Corporation, who owns 10 properties across the Las Vegas valley and 29 properties nationwide, may not be reopening its three downtown properties right away once Governor Sisolak lifts the shutdown order on casinos in Nevada.

Since downtown Las Vegas relies heavily on tourism, Boyd’s three down properties, California Hotel, Main Street Station, and the Fremont Hotel, may most likely have to wait until tourism starts to ramp back up downtown before they can open their doors to the public again.

Boyd’s California Hotel, for one, relies heavily on Hawaiian tourists for business. Las Vegas is also referred to as the “Ninth Island” for many who either visit from the state or have come to make Las Vegas their home. California Hotel gears its marketing specifically toward its Hawaiian crowds, with specific cultural events and dining options.

Boyd Properties Rely a Large Percentage of Business on Local Retirees

Just a couple of weeks ago, Boyd Gaming’s CEO Keith Smith said he believed that local casinos could be the driving force behind Las Vegas’ rebound.

According to Smith, the last time Las Vegas experienced an economic downfall was the recession period between 2008-2009, and what that situation proved was that the Strip didn’t refuel the locals market.

Although Strip properties were able to rebound quicker during the 2008 financial crisis, Boyd Gaming Corp. doesn’t see the same thing happening with the pandemic causing more worries to arise in travelers.

With confidence in air travel wary amid the coronavirus pandemic, the local market could very well prove to be Las Vegas’ saving grace once casinos reopen soon.

Boyd’s properties outside of downtown Las Vegas, including The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Aliante Casino, Eastside Cannery, Cannery, and Sam’s Town, rely heavily on local retirees for their business.

“Those retirees didn’t have a job before this started, don’t have a job now. They still have their income,” Smith pointed out.

Local Gamblers Will Want to Return Once Casinos Reopen

With many Las Vegas residents having cabin fever due to stay-at-home orders, especially retirees without work, it’s predicted that many will want to drive down to their nearest local casino once they’ve been given the green light to reopen.

The local market will be vital in Las Vegas’ economic rebound, as it’s unsure how the Strip properties will do, especially since their business relies heavily on out-of-state and international visitors.

Boyd properties, on the other hand, doesn’t see much visitation from international guests.

Josh Hirsberg, Boyd’s executive vice president and CFO, pointed out that people aren’t going to want to travel. He believes that most people are just waiting to get back to “normal life,” or what they considered to be normal before the coronavirus hit.

Hirsberg said that for the locals market, that returning to normal can happen “pretty quickly” with Boyd’s properties.

Boyd Gaming Experiences 18% Revenue Drop in First Quarter

It’s no surprise that Boyd Gaming and other casino operating companies have experienced big revenue drops in the first quarter due to the pandemic.

According to preliminary results, Boyd Gaming’s revenue dropped 18 percent to $680.5 million for 2020’s first quarter.

Even with the revenue drop, CEO Keith Smith believes the company is in a good position to sustain itself throughout the shutdown. The company even plans to come out on the other side “more efficient” and “operationally-focused.”

In an effort to save on payroll costs, Boyd furloughed many of their team members. A common move for casino properties in Las Vegas to combat the economic downfall caused by the closures. Company executives are also expected to see “significant salary reductions.”

Stay Tuned

It will definitely be interesting to see what happens when casinos reopen in Las Vegas. In the same fashion as Boyd Gaming, casino operators on the Strip are also planning on not reopening all of their properties at once, such as Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts.

Whether downtown Las Vegas will take a while to rebound or not is something we’ll have to wait and see about.

Do you think tourism will return once casinos reopen in Las Vegas? Share your thoughts with us below!

World Poker Tour and Theta Labs TV Launching a 24/7 Poker Streaming Channel

Do you ever just stop and think, “man, I wish I could watch poker for 24 hours straight.” If you’re a normal person, then probably not. 

World Poker Tour Logo

But, if you do wish there was a way for it to be possible to watch poker matches and have them more easily accessible, you’re in luck!

Theta Labs, the creator of Theta.tv, is in works with the World Poker Tour to create a streaming channel that will have an “always-on” approach to showing poker.

“Theta Labs and WPT are innovators in our respective industries and this global partnership will provide our users with a new, ground-breaking way to watch the best televised poker product in the world, all powered by our peer-to-peer Theta blockchain technology, We’re looking forward to deeper integration of the Theta Network within WPT.” – CEO of Theta Labs, Mitch Liu

Who is Theta Labs?

Okay, but who exactly is Theta Labs? Are they poker experts?

No, not exactly poker experts, but they are experts in the world of streaming. 

Theta Labs, or Theta.tv, is best known for being a streaming channel that has a network with its own blockchain. This is designed to incentivize people to share bandwidth.

Theta.tv is a p2p network that is working to help with the issues of VDN’s having little to no reach in lesser developed countries.

Why Poker?

This is a move down by Theta Labs in an attempt to broaden their horizons outside fo their traditional esports market. Expanding a portfolio is by no means out of the ordinary for companies. While I’m not exactly sure why they started with poker, I’m definitely not going to complain about it!

During this time of pandemic in the world right now, streaming services and virtual playing of games will only become more and more important.

The Wrap Up

So, now we have another streaming platform to be able to enjoy poker. We will be able to us Theta.tv to watch the following:

  • World Poker Tour Seasons VIII through XVI
  • WPT Alpha8 Seasons I-III
  • WPT Greatest Season I-III
  • King of the Club

Hopefully, we continue to see a rise in streaming content that compliments fans of the online gambling world. 

If you guys have suggestions for some, or just have any questions or comments in general, feel free to drop a comment down below!

Downtown Grand Tops off Third Tower, Final Phase of Development

Downtown Grand Hotel & CasinoThe Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino are nearing completion of the expansive, third tower addition to their property, which first broke ground a little over a year ago. The new tower is adding a generous 250,000 square feet of hospitality space, with 495 new rooms to tack onto the property’s existing 629 rooms. The tower has seven total guest-room floors.

“The topping out of our newest tower is an energizing milestone for all of us at the property,” said John Culetsu, VP and Managing Director of the Downtown Grand. “We are in the final phases of development and closer to the ultimate goal of extending our revered guest experience to many more travelers. We look forward to delivering the city’s newest room product this fall.”

The new tower plans to begin hotel bookings by spring, and ready for guests officially check-ins this September.

Third Tower Boosts Property’s Aesthetic

Located on the east side of the property, Downtown Grand’s third tower is a sleek, redefining architectural feature that stands at the corner of 4th and Ogden, within clear pedestrian view. With its contemporary exterior architecture, featuring clean lines and a modern, neutral color scheme, it’s a ramped-up boost to the property’s overall street presence.

The towel also features a versatile new entrance that leads to the main hotel casino floor.

Suite Upgrades

The Downtown Grand seeks to provide the modern traveler with a unique “boutique hotel experience.” With that goal in mind, the third toward has also upgraded its suites to include a premier room list offering 67 studio units, 20 one-bedroom suites, and three Presidential Suites. The Presidential Suites include the largest square footage, with close to 1,500 square feet of entertainable space.

Downtown Grand Continues to Pioneer the Way

Since 2013, Downtown Grand has been the pioneering mecca for downtown travelers looking to experience an industrial, futuristic-chic atmosphere in an area of Las Vegas more commonly known by its stark contrast as “Old Vegas” or “Vintage Vegas.”

The hotel launched during Downtown Las Vegas’ exciting resurgence. During this pivotal turning point in Downtown history, mega online shoe and clothing retailer, Zappos, relocated their headquarters downtown, Fremont East District was developed, and the Life is Beautiful Music Festival first launched.

Downtown Grand continues to adapt with the times and serve as a central hub for Downtown Las Vegas’ latest events and happenings. Now, more Vegas visitors and locals alike will get a chance to enjoy its sleek, boutique hotel experience with the latest addition of their third tower.

About Downtown Grand

From Downtown Grand’s website:

Downtown Grand was awarded the 2019 TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence, Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino is a unique hospitality and entertainment destination right in the heart of revitalized downtown Las Vegas. Located on 3rd Street between Ogden and Stewart, Downtown Grand encompasses an entire urban block of hotel, casino and dining amenities.

With its third hotel tower under construction and set to open in 2020, the property currently features an 18-story and 25-story tower adjoined by a walking bridge elevated over 3rd Street, with 629 guest rooms and suites offering luxury accommodations that set a new standard for sophistication and style in downtown Las Vegas.

Downtown Grand’s casino offerings include 25,000 square feet of gaming space with nearly 500 of the hottest slot machines, table games and a fully featured sports book powered by William Hill.

Restaurants, bars and entertainment options include Freedom Beat, Furnace Bar, Art Bar, Sidebar, The Spare Room Showroom, and the award-winning Las Vegas steakhouse Triple George Grill. Partnering venues include the famous Hogs & Heifers saloon and Pizza Rock, renowned as one of the best pizza restaurants in the city.

Downtown Grand features Citrus Grand Pool Deck, a rooftop pool experience with more than 35,000 square feet of entertainment and special event space, an infinity pool, restaurant and bar, semi-private cabanas, a fire pit and a grass seating area.

Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino is a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Connect Collection. All guests of are eligible to enroll in the I Prefer hotel rewards program, which extends points redeemable for cash-value Reward Certificates, elite status, and special benefits such as complimentary Internet to members upon every stay at more than 700 participating Preferred Hotels & Resorts locations worldwide.

For more information, call (702) 719-5100 or go to DowntownGrand.com.

What’s Happening in Vegas? February 9th – 15th

All the exciting events taking place in Las Vegas this week:

  • Sterling Brunch @ Bally’s Hotel & Casino
  • Silversun Pickups @ House Of Blues
  • UNLV vs. UNR @ Thomas and Mack
  • Mariah Carey @ The Colosseum
  • Wiz Khalifa @ Drai’s Nightclub

This is a fantastic time to visit Las Vegas. February is plugging along and the weather in the city is starting to improve. Valentine’s Day takes place on Friday, too, making it one of the most romantic weeks of the year for Las Vegas.

As you probably guessed, there are some extremely exciting events taking place this week. Whether you want a relaxed evening with a loved one, or a wild night on the town by yourself, there’s something for you happening in Vegas.

What's Happening in Vegas Banner

Here are just a few of the best Las Vegas events you can attend this week.

Sunday, February 9th

Sterling Brunch

Las Vegas is home to some of the best breakfast and brunch spots in the country. This Sunday at 9:30 am, the Sterling Brunch opens to the public at Bally’s Hotel & Casino. This incredible eatery has been an institution in Las Vegas for almost 30 years and offers a wide variety of incredible food options.

Bally’s is a massively popular hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip. This week’s brunch here will feature caviar, lobster tails, and more. If you want to kick off the week with an incredible meal, make your reservation at the Sterling Brunch.

Monday, February 10th

Silversun Pickups

Some of the best musical performances in Las Vegas take place on weekdays. On Monday, for example, Silversun Pickups are set to perform at the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay Casino-Resort. You’ve probably heard some of this band’s major hits such as Lazy Eye and Panic Switch.

Visitors to Las Vegas have the opportunity to see this iconic alternative rock band perform inside one of the city’s top venues. You never know when Silversun Pickups will stop touring, making this the perfect time to check out their show. Fortunately, tickets are still available for just $25.

Wednesday, February 12th

UNLV vs. UNR

College basketball games are some of the most exciting sporting events in the country. On Wednesday, a battle of Nevada teams goes down as UNLV takes on UNR inside the Thomas and Mack Center. It’s one of the state’s most intense rivalries and both teams are looking to stay relevant in the Mountain West.

Basketball fans expect a good one here. These two teams have some star players and always turn up the heat when facing one another. Tickets for the game are still available, starting at just $37.

Friday, February 14th

Mariah Carey

It’s Valentine’s Day this Friday, and what better way could you spend the holiday in Las Vegas than watching Mariah Carey perform. Carey is one of the most iconic musicians in the world, with hits that span several musical genres. She’s performing this Friday inside The Colosseum at Caesars Palace and is expected to make things especially romantic for all the couples in the audience.

At 49 years old, Mariah Carey is still one of the most vibrant and entertaining musicians in the world. It’s no surprise that she’s still able to sell-out shows across the country. Tickets for her performance this Friday are still available. Prices start at $100.

Saturday, February 15th

Wiz Khalifa

The week wraps up with one of the top rappers in the world, Wiz Khalifa, performing inside Drai’s Nightclub. Wiz has created some of the biggest rap hits of the past decade and regularly collaborates with icons like Snoop Dogg and Drake. Every time he hits the stage, the audience is in for something special.

Wiz Khalifa is also known for surprising his audience with special performances from fellow rappers. Some feel this is what’s in store for Saturday. Tickets are selling fast, yet are still available for just $40.

There are some fantastic Las Vegas concerts taking place this week. As you can see above, foodies and sports fans here also have some exciting events to look forward to. It’s the week of love in Las Vegas and everyone is ready to celebrate.

DraftKings and FanDuel Enter Colorado With Twin River Partnerships

DraftKings Backwards HatOn Monday, Twin River Worldwide Holdings announced separate market access partnerships with daily fantasy sports heavyweights DraftKings and FanDuel, giving sports fans in Colorado access to award-winning sportsbook products. Under the deals, both operators will receive the required permissions to operate mobile and online sportsbooks in the Centennial State.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings owns several casinos nationwide. Aside from Colorado, they manage properties throughout Rhode Island, Mississippi, and Delaware. In Colorado alone, Twin River operates three casinos and a horse racetrack.

These partnerships combine Twin River Worldwide Holdings’ nationwide experience in gaming and casino operations with market-leading sports betting expertise and globally recognizable brands.

The company recently purchased Golden Gates, Golden Gulch, and Mardi Gras. Each property comes with the ability to obtain three sports betting licenses. CEO George Papanier made the following statement regarding the acquisition:

“Completing the acquisition of Golden Gates, Golden Gulch, and Mardi Gras casinos in Black Hawk, Colorado last week included the right to three sports gaming licenses in Colorado and will really allow us to expand our footprint here well beyond our Arapahoe Park racetrack and off-track betting network.”

FanDuel Partnership

In the past, FanDuel Sportsbook has been available in Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Colorado is now the fifth state in which FanDuel will offer its services to gamblers. Their CEO, Matt King, also had something to share:

“Twin River has been engaged in sports betting since the beginning in Rhode Island and Mississippi, and they are an ideal partner as we continue to enter states that open up online and mobile sports betting.

Colorado has a sensible framework for sports betting, and we are excited to partner with a renowned gaming company like Twin River to bring our market-leading online sports betting experience to Colorado sports fans.”

Sports bettors will soon have access to a variety of online wagering options, including point spreads, moneylines, over/under, parlays, teasers, prop bets, round robins, and a long list of live bets. The FanDuel Sportsbook app will only make betting easier for Colorado residents.

DraftKings Partnership

Colorado is the sixth state to offer the DraftKings’ Sportsbook platform. They previously offered their services in the following states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire, and West Virginia.

“Coast to coast, DraftKings is committed to providing states across the country with the ultimate experience in legal sports betting,” said Ezra Kucharz, DraftKings’ Chief Business Officer.

Twin River holds a mutual pledge to providing exciting, real-time gaming opportunities, and we look forward to working alongside them to introduce Colorado sports fans to our award-winning product.”

As well as mobile and online sportsbook access, the partnership will also allow Colorado sports fans to place sports bets via a retail betting operation at Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk, CO. Colorado will become the fifth state where DraftKings operates a retail location, joining Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York, subject to adoption of applicable regulations and both parties securing necessary gaming licenses.

MGM Resorts International Makes $2.4 Billion Joint Venture Deal by Selling MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay

Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas, For Sale Sign
In a newly formed joint venture between MGM Growth Properties LLC (“MGP”) and Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust (“BREIT”), MGM Resorts International announced Tuesday morning that they will be selling two of their mega Strip properties, the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay.

MGM Resorts International Makes $2.4 Billion Deal

According to Fox Business, MGM Resorts expects to receive net cash proceeds of approximately $2.4 billion for the deal, and approximately $85 million in MGP operating partnership units as a result of the transaction. MGP is set to own 50.1 perfect of the joint venture, while BREIT will own 49.9 percent.

As part of the transaction, the real estate assets of Mandalay Bay from MGP will also be acquired and both properties will be leased to MGM Resorts for an initial rent of $292 million. This is how it’s been similarly done with the Bellagio, where MGM Resorts leases back the properties and continues to operate them.

Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, said this of the acquisition:

“These announcements represent a key milestone in executing the Company’s previously communicated asset-light strategy, one that enables a best-in-class balance sheet and strong free cash flow generation to provide MGM Resorts with meaningful strategic flexibility to create continued value for our shareholders.

As such, we remain determined to prudently pursue accretive opportunities related to our remaining owned real estate assets including MGM Springfield, our 50% stake in CityCenter and our 55% economic ownership in MGP (pro forma for the potential $1.4bn redemption).

Our corporate objective remains crystal clear, we will continue to monetize our owned real estate assets, which facilitates our strong focus on returning capital to our shareholders, while also retaining significant flexibility to pursue our visible growth initiatives, including Japan and sports betting.”

A Big Boost to the Company Balance Sheet

Substantial proceeds from MGM Resorts previously completed sales of Bellagio and Circus Circus in the previous year were the initial launchpad in reducing the level of company debt through the process of selling its assets. This joint venture will only further execute the company’s 2020 initiatives and create significant improvements in the company’s balance sheet.

Plans for divvying up the proceeds from the newly announced transaction include returning capital to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. A more specific capital allocation plan is intended to be released once the company releases its earning from their fourth quarter of 2019.

Paul Salem, Chairman of the Real Estate Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors, said this of MGM Resorts financial initiatives through the transaction:

“The valuation levels achieved on the Bellagio and MGM Grand Las Vegas transactions are a testament to MGM Resorts as a high-quality tenant and our overall asset quality. The robust interest in our recent transactions further validates the Company’s conviction on being able to unlock value for our shareholders through its asset light strategy

The transaction represents another key phase of our ongoing review of the Company’s assets and is in-line with all of the Real Estate Committee’s principal objectives of enhancing free cash flow per share, maximizing the value of our owned real estate and equity holdings, highlighting the strength of our operating business, and strengthening the Company’s financial position.”

Closing Date

While subject to certain closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020. If the success of the sales of Bellagio and Circus Circus are an indication of the company reaching their long-term financial repositioning goals, MGM Resorts International looks to be in good standing by building an even stronger fortress in terms of their balance sheet with the latest transaction.

New Sportsbook Space Opens at Rivers Casino in Illinois

Sportsbook Room Tv Screens

On Friday, the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, opened its first sportsbook. The problem is that the casino is still awaiting approval on the state to start accepting bets.

The BetRivers SportsBar opened a nearly 5,000-square foot space at the casino property on Friday near the main gambling floor. However, patrons will not be permitted to place bets at the venue until state regulators give them the green light to do so.

Awaiting Approval from Illinois Gaming Board

Rush Street Gaming and Churchill Downs Inc., the companies in charge of the casino property, are waiting for the Illinois Gaming Board to release new rules and regulations regarding sports betting. The companies are also waiting for the board to start releasing sports betting licenses, which will cost $10 million to obtain. We could see all of this happen after the board’s next meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday, December 19.

The sparkling new sports bar features a massive 47-foot ultra LED video wall with an adjustable screen that can display as many as 27 different sporting events at the same time. There are 14 additional televisions situated throughout the lounge with 32 leather lounge seats and a full-service bar. More than 24 bar seats have their own gambling touch screens, as well. There are 10 86-inch televisions and 4 more 75-inch screens lining the walls.

The new bar occupies the space that formerly housed the Cube nightclub and special events lounge. Casino officials wanted the bar to be ready before regulators issued the updated rules and regulations. Casino officials released renderings of the bar, but photographs are prohibited as of now due to the gaming board’s rules.

There is extra space for 5 betting windows with a separate betting kiosk. Walls on both sides of the bar have been equipped with the proper wiring for the odds boards to be turned on once officials grant the casino the right to start offering sports bets.

Customers Eager for Sports Betting

Corey Wise, the general manager of Rivers Casino, told the Daily Herald, “We want to be prepared and primed once we know what the Illinois regulatory requirements are. We’re ready to go once the state is ready to go.”

Customers are chomping at the bit to be able to place bets in the sparkling new lounge. Wise added that someone played the first slot in the new space less than a minute after it opened for the first time. Another patron inquired about when sports betting will be available shortly thereafter.

In November, Rivers Casino became the first in Illinois to be granted approval from the state’s gaming board to offer land-based gambling. Rivers subsequently installed 115 slot machines throughout the site. The casino, which opened its doors for the first time in 2011 as a riverboat. However, Illinois subsequently struck down the water requirement, which opened up the possibility for 6 new casinos across the state.

There are currently plans to install more slots at the property near the main entrance. The updated law gives Rivers the opportunity to add more slots and table games, and plans to expand the building are currently in development. Wise said it’s still too early to say how large the potential expansion would be, or even where on the existing space it would be located.

However, construction has already gotten underway to add another 750 parking spaces in a new 1,550-space parking garage expansion adjacent to the property. That expansion will cost about $24 million and is due to be completed sometime in the summer of 2020.

Illinois voted to approve the legalization and regulation of sports betting back in June.