Monthly Archives: November 2017

Online gambling still king of the UK gambling mountain

Online gambling remains the dominant engine of the overall UK gaming industry, according to new figures from the national regulator.

On Thursday, the UK Gambling Commission released the latest installment of its twice-yearly snapshot of the UK gambling industry. The latest report, covering the 12 months spanning April 2016 and March 2017, show gross gambling yield (GGY) of £13.7b, up 1.8% from the report covering April 2015 to March 2016.

Online gambling sites (excluding lottery operators) produced GGY of £4.68b, up 10.1% from the year before. Online gambling accounted for the largest slice of the overall GGY pie, rising 1.5 points to 34%.

Casino products (including poker) accounted for 56% of online GGY, easily eclipsing betting (37.1%), bingo (3.5%), exchange betting (2.8%) and pool betting (0.7%).

Poker Central has a sister, and she loves esports

Poker Central has a sister, ESP Gaming, a competitive gaming and production company looking to handle some of the most prominent esports contests in the world.

Games like Overwatch, League of Legends (LOL) and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds are wrapped up in a comet hurtling through the entertainment industry at 366 mph per second. Poker is standing patiently at the bus stop. It can hear the comet coming. Let’s hope it can catch the tail because if it flies past, I can’t see how anyone will ever notice it.

PokerStars has the answer; I’m sure of that.

Poker needs a hit of Darwinism. It needs to mutate quickly, to evolve, to become stronger, faster, and more enjoyable to people who have never tried the game. PokerStars has done this with Power Up. The Global Poker League (GPL) looks like it will soon become the Global Player League (GPL) dropping the word ‘poker’ and welcoming competitive gaming on a broader scale. And now it’s the turn of Poker Central.

Fewer jumpers for goalposts as global gaming revenue on par with sports

The world needs to prepare for an ever-increasing digital revolution as Newzoo shows that the global gaming industry revenue is on par with traditional sports, and Alibaba prepares for the long haul.

I’m in LA. My son is in the UK. I know when he’s bored. He wants to talk to me. It happens quite a lot, and there’s a dichotomy because I want to talk to him, but I also want him to get a life.

But what does that mean – get a life?

Teenagers, minus a car and money, are limited when it comes to what they can do to pass the time of day. Societal conditioning and the threat of ostracisation means games like tag, hide-and-seek and Monopoly are off the list.

Poker routines episode #22: Ari Engel

In this week’s episode of Poker Routines, we poke around in the soul of one of Canada’s top live tournament poker players,  Ari Engel.

Ari Engel is a self-confessed workaholic.

I mean, of course, he is, come on.

What I love about Engel is he turns up everywhere. Small, Medium, Big – it doesn’t matter to Engel; the man just walks in, sets his ghetto blaster down next to his chair, slips his Kippah on, and gets to work making people sweat.

Calling the Clock: The Golden Geese slayers come out to play

In this week’s poker news round-up we bring you up to speed on the big wins for poker’s elite, a new digital currency from partypoker, and a report from the land of the rising sun.

What a week for those who swim in the blood of the Golden Geese.

It all began with an unknown professional poker player posting his winnings graph on his way out of the door. It wasn’t your typical graph; this one read $7.4m in profit over a five-year period, and it had a dry ski slope look to it.

As images emerged of the man known as cumicon sitting in a strip joint with 100 dollar bills protruding from his fist like a bouquet of flowers, Joey Ingram tracked him, dragged him onto the Poker Life Podcast and those images evaporated like condensation in a shower room with the window open.

Connecticut, two tribes go to war vs. fed gov’t over casino delay

Connecticut’s two gaming tribes have joined the state in suing the federal government over delays in approving a new casino project.

On Wednesday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the filing of a lawsuit in US District Court in Washington, DC against the US Department of Interior and Secretary Ryan Zinke (pictured).

The suit is intended to give a swift kick to the backside of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which has been slow-rolling approval of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes’ joint venture casino project in East Windsor.

At issue is whether the new casino would violate the tribes’ existing gaming compacts with the state, which guarantee the tribes’ slot exclusivity and prohibit the authorization of any new commercial casino project.

Three teams listed as co-favorites to win CFP Championship

Odds courtesy of

Even losing to the Auburn Tigers last week in the Iron Bowl has not dropped the Alabama Crimson Tide from being a favorite to win this year’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

The big difference though is that the Crimson Tide now share that title with two other teams, the Oklahoma Sooners and the Clemson Tigers, with all of them listed as +375 co-favorites to win it all right now.

Alabama needs some help in order to get into the CFP for the fourth year in a row, but many experts believe it will happen, with the belief that the committee is more likely to take a quality one-loss team like the Tide than other two-loss squads. The Georgia Bulldogs (+750) are another quality one-loss team in the mix, but they will need to beat the Tigers in the SEC Championship Game in order to get into the field.

Penn National Gaming, Pinnacle Ent confirm acquisition talks

US regional casino operator Penn National Gaming (PNG) has confirmed that it is discussing a potential acquisition of rival Pinnacle Entertainment.

In October, rumors swirled that PNG and Pinnacle had been holding “on-again, off-again” discussions regarding some form of tie-up.

On Thursday, PNG issued a statement saying that “in light of recent market speculation,” it would confirm that it is “engaged in discussions” with Pinnacle regarding a “potential business combination” by which PNG would acquire Pinnacle in “a cash and stock transaction.”

Pinnacle issued a carbon copy statement, adding that there was no guarantee that these discussions would actually lead to a deal of any kind between the two regional racing and gaming operators, who operate a combined 45 properties across 12 states and the Canadian province of Ontario that generate over $5b in annual revenue.

Melco Resorts to move HQ to Japan if casino bid accepted

Asian casino operator Melco Resorts & Entertainment (MRE) has seriously upped the ante in demonstrating its desire to win a Japanese integrated resort (IR) license.

On Thursday, MRE CEO Lawrence Ho and some of his top execs traveled to Tokyo in a bid to impress upon local officials the company’s fervent desire to land one of the coveted Japanese IR licenses. They achieved this goal in dramatic fashion by pledging to relocate MRE’s corporate HQ from Hong Kong to Japan if its IR bid was successful.

MRE recently established a Japanese subsidiary, MRE Japan, whose staff will be headed up by Japan office president Ako Shiraogawa. But Ho (pictured, center) underscored his personal commitment to the project by saying that if MRE was to win a Japanese license, “Japan would be 100% of my time. I will move here … and move the headquarters to here.”

MRE Japan’s IR project has been given the name The City of the Future, with designers opting for an appropriately “futuristic façade that seamless integrates into the surrounding environment while subtly expressing key motifs in Japanese landscape design.”

Caesars mortgages its future with Harrah’s Las Vegas dirt sale

Casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corporation (CEC) has sold the ground underneath its Harrah’s Las Vegas casino to help fund its purchase of two Indiana casinos.

On Thursday, CEC announced that it had inked a deal with VICI Properties to sell and leaseback the land underneath Harrah’s Las Vegas. CEC will receive $1.14b from the sale, while the initial year of the 15-year lease will cost CEC $87.4m in rent. CEC has an option to extend the lease by another 20 years via four five-year extensions.

CEC also announced that it has agreed to acquire 18.4 acres of Harrah’s-adjacent land from VICI to develop a new 300k-square-foot convention center. CEC will have the right to compel VICI to buy the completed convention center and lease it back to CEC. Should CEC choose not to exercise this right, VICI can choose to buy the building and lease it back to CEC. (So basically, expect VICI to be buying the damn building.)

CEC CEO Mark Frissora said the transactions “demonstrate our commitment to pursuing growth opportunities while maintaining balance-sheet discipline.” Although, one might say that the real discipline will be coming via CEC’s looming 2020 debt götterdämmerung.

Nevada casinos set sportsbook record, seek marijuana clarity

Nevada casinos posted flat gaming revenue in October, thanks in part to the fallout from that month’s mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay resort.

Figures released Thursday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show statewide casino gaming revenue of $988.7m in October, up 0.3% from the same month last year. The sum was also only moderately higher than September 2017’s $980m.

Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip played spoiler in October, as gaming revenue declined 6% to $528.7m. Numerous Strip casino operators had commented on temporary dips in visitation and hotel bookings following the October 1 mass shooting that killed 59 individuals, including the gunman.

By contrast, Downtown Las Vegas saw its gaming revenue improve nearly 10% to $63.6m, while North Las Vegas shot up 11.6% to $27m. Statewide revenue numbers for first four months of the state’s fiscal year are up nearly 3.8% to just under $4b.